I found a term in the October 2012 issue (p. 65) of the Harvard Business Review that I just love -- one that I want to make use of, if I can just remember to do it!
HiPPO -- the Highest Paid Person's Opinion
The term is mentioned in an article dealing with management having to make sense of big data. Toward the end of the article, the authors talk about a new culture of decision making in a section called 'muting the HiPPOs':
"One of the most critical aspects of big data is its impact on how decisions are made and who gets to make them. When data are scarce, expensive to obtain, or not available in digital form, it makes sense to let well-placed people make decisions, which they do on the basis of experience they've built up and patterns and relationships they've observed and internalized. [...] For particularly important decisions, these people are typically high up in the organization, or they're expensive outsiders brought in because of their expertise and track records. Many in the big data community maintain that companies often make most of their important decisions by relying on HiPPOs. [...] But we believe that throughout the business world today, people rely too much on experience and intuition and not enough on data."
They go on to tout the merits of data-driven companies, and, admittedly, they do have a strong argument, even if the argument might feel a bit odd for schools, since we so rarely talk about data.
So, to return to my new favorite term...can you identify the HiPPOs in your school? Do you ever feel like muting them?!