Daivd Brooks wrote a fine column this morning titled What Data Can’t Do in the New York Times. It is a good illustration of how the three levels of support and resistance play out in business decisions. And the risk of relying too heavily on Level 1 objective data. (If you don’t know those levels, then you might like to read Resistance to Change – Why It Matters.
Brooks writes that the head of a major bank asked the bank’s economists to determine if the bank should pull out of Italy. The result: data suggested that it would be wise to leave. That’s Level 1.) But he made his decision based other types of data. Brooks writes: “His bank had been in Italy for decades. He didn’t want Italians to think of the company as a fair-weather friend. He didn’t want people inside the company thinking they would cut and run when times got hard. He decided to stay in Italy and ride out any potential crisis, even with the short-term costs.” Brooks goes on to say that the issue of trust was an important factor (Level 3.)