The Need For Proof

As an experienced HR pro and leader, I’ve seen a troubling pattern in workplaces: we often wait for solid proof before addressing problems, even when it’s clear something is wrong.

Malcolm Gladwell said it best: “Sometimes ‘proof’ is just another word for letting people suffer.”

Think about that.

We often know something isn’t right, but without concrete evidence, we hesitate to act. This hesitation means people continue to suffer because we don’t have undeniable proof.

HR pros and leaders are trained to rely on proof to minimize risk. This cautious approach can lead to inaction, even when we know someone is being wronged.

Here’s my challenge to you:

Stop hiding behind the need for proof. Your employees are suffering, and using the lack of evidence as an excuse is wrong.

Yes, acting without proof can be risky. Yes, it might backfire. But we have a responsibility to help those who are suffering, even if it means taking a risk.

I’m willing to get fired for doing what’s right. I can’t stay in a job where people suffer because I can’t ‘prove’ something. Think about these examples:

  • Hundreds of athletes were abused by a doctor because there was no proof.
  • A hiring manager’s racism goes unchecked due to lack of proof.
  • A co-worker harasses another employee, but there’s no proof.
  • The CEO’s misogynistic behavior is ignored because there’s no proof.

“Sometimes ‘proof’ is just another word for letting people suffer…”

Look around your organization. Who is suffering today, and what can you do about it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.