Verification in an era of information overload

September 2018

At a recent event I attended on digital transformation, I was struck by a comment by one of the speakers on the proliferation of content. It seems that in this age of near ubquitious connectivity, many of us are driven to create content.

This may be to remain relevant, to attract attention to our product or service or, in the case of the younger generation, to themselves and the issues they feel are important.

An interesting fact he raised is that we create more content in a month than was previously created in a century. Think about that for a moment.

While the quantity created is extraordinary, the quality remains questionable. Broadly speaking, publically available content is not always credible or accurate and, as we know in the case of medical advice, can never replace professional insight and opinion.

One of the most disturbing trends to emerge in this era of content overload is the growing lack of discernment in our approach to what we read or hear. Very few people question the veracity of the facts and when they do they are labelled with whatever publically acceptable label suits the biases of the writer.

Content of any kind should always be evaluated against the agenda of the author – hence the saying “take it from whence it comes”.

Aside from content, the principle of veracity continuously comes up in supporting the business needs of clients.

We at Vizibiliti are increasing confronted by situations where clients find themselves in anomalous arrangements, too often to their detriment. Upon closer inspection we find complex situations that have developed because clients opted to avoid the normal course of business and now find themselves embroiled in conflict that could easily have been avoided had there been some initial due process.

Here are some hints and tips that should help ensure you don’t find yourself in a similar predicament:

Mandate

Understand that the only person who has the right to represent you is yourself.

If you authorise someone to act on your behalf, you need to formally mandate them via a contract or agreement.

While this may seem cumbersome, remember that when the real business gets concluded your signature will need to be provided and as such you will be liable. Conversely, always ask the person you are engaged with what their mandate is. Don’t waste your time dealing with the middleman. Deal with the decision maker in the first instant.

Verification

If someone represents a situation to you that requires a decision, you have every right and a responsibility to ask for verification. In fact, go one step further, verify the facts independently for yourself. As I said to a client recently, ask to see the document you are being told has been signed. Ask for proof of qualification. Imagine yourself in a court of law being cross examined by the defence attorney and being asked if you confirmed what you were told, being asked did you see the contract you were told existed? It certainly helps sharpen the mind.

Remove the pressure

No important decision needs to be made under pressure. I have a mentor who has a saying: “If you want a quick answer it’s no.” If you want me to consider this proposal seriously then I need time to think and consider (read and verify).

Reference checks

Validate who you are dealing with. I have lost count of the times people have referred to a person not measuring up to standard as being a friend of a friend.

In this day and age, it’s incredibly simple to verify the credentials of anyone you have to deal with. Aside from the obvious internet background search, ask for references.

If someone says they can build your website, ask them to give you two names of clients you can call to obtain a reference and have an independent person verify the standard of their work. Why are we so accepting of a referral without proper scrutiny of prior performance?

Every successful person will admit to the pain of foresight i.e. failing before they succeed.

Hindsight is a joy, but why not learn from those who have hindsight, those who’ve been there and paid the price.

Collaborate with a professional in the field

If you are having to undergo brain surgery and you are sceptical of the opinion, the solution is simple: get another opinion.

I see specialists calling each other all the time to check on a course of treatment. They’re not calling their spouse, mom or pal, they’re calling a professional colleague.

Why if you are doing business would you think the process is any different?

If you are faced with a decision that involves professional expertise, why would you not ask a professional to verify a course of action? Why would you talk to a non-professional from outside of the industry?

At Vizibiliti we scrutinise everyone and everything and only deal with seasoned, credible professionals. Why not treat your business as seriously as we do ours?

BY ALISON MAYTHAM

BY ALISON MAYTHAM

“There are many different factors that determine the success of your practice – but, as a busy healthcare professional focusing on the needs of your patients, you may not always have the time to focus on the many demanding, and often complex, facets of managing your business. Vizibiliti provides you with easy access to insightful, comprehensive practice and business management solutions and advice across all stages of your business journey – from establishing, growing or closing your practice.”

Share this post