I'm reading a great book right now: Hard Facts, Dangerous Truths and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management by Jeff Pfeffer and Bob Sutton, both professors at Stanford University.
Given my recent time in Santa Fe at their annual November leadership seminar, where Gary Gruber challenged us to always ask "why" we do certain things, that message is underscored yet more by Pfeffer and Sutton in this specific tome.
One of the things that the authors identify early in their work is the importance of making decisions based on concrete evidence. That may sound like an "obvious" assertion, but, as they point out, it is rarely observed. Instead, many directors and CEOs make decisions based on intuition alone, or on a misreading of competitors' businesses.
In other words, it is commonplace for companies (schools, in our case) to make decisions that are based on delusions. When those delusions are used to identify metrics (etc), the result can be business strategy that ends up undoing the company. Pfeffer and Sutton cite plenty of companies where that has been the case: for example, one company went from $75 million to $10 million in revenues in only five years. That's drastic, to say the least.
We tend to make highly-informed decisions when, for instance, determining the best course of health care to address a certain issue we may have personally; however, when it comes to a company (school), we tend not to be as thorough in drilling down into the data. Instead, we too often make decisions based on more superficial data, without exploring those data points in greater detail.