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What Is, Where Is Truth?

Decisions should be primarily based on facts.

I like the decision paper format that was used years and years ago, in my experience, in the Army. The sections went something like this:

  • A problem statement, "To determine..."
  • A listing of planning assumptions, since not everything is always totally clear to us in the fog of war or business and government
  • Then, believe it or not, a listing of known facts. These are not opinions, or what we would like to be true, but hard cold facts as we know them
  • Next would come a list of options, or let's call them courses of action. Different paths to be taken
  • The discussion piece would follow with each option being considered and the pros and cons of each option: A, B, C mulled over in writing
  • Lastly, based on all the above, a recommendation would be made as to which option should be followed
It is a great format for laying out the choices that can be taken. The key in the above is the facts, and I think today we'll use the word "truths," and then the planning assumptions. This latter piece is your best thinking on a problem and what "could be" but is not absolutely known. 

In today's world the truth seems to be lost somewhere in the mix of opinions and conspiracy theories that people come up with to spread more fog than knowledge. I like the signpost below that I grabbed from a New York Times article. Where are we headed and where can we find truth? All routes and signs don't lead to truth. There are no "alternative facts," only real facts. 

 

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Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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