Toilet Paper Up or Down? The Power of Comparative Data and Knowing What You Don’t Know

…HR ideas from Jeffery Giesener –CEO – SourceMob

TP Rolls

I ran across an interesting statistic recently: 68% of Americans place their toilet paper in the holder with the roll coming over the top (rather than underneath).  Interesting.  I guess I’m “normal” (not that placing it the other way is necessarily abnormal).  But I guess it’s been a long debate – Wikipedia has 133 footnotes on the subject, and even Good Housekeeping claims that “you use less paper when you drape the end over the top of the roll…plus, if you place it under, you can’t do the fancy fold at the end of the paper.”  Best practices in toilet paper rolling, I guess.


Surveys tell us what is “normal” – I like my coffee black, thank you.  They provide us reference points – indications of what might be considered average, above average or best-in-class.  They indicate what is possible, they illustrate how you fit in, and surveys can be helpful for both individuals and organizations.


For example, Fortune publishes an annual survey of the Fortune 500 CEOs to find out what they are thinking in terms of the business environment and the workplace.  The most recent survey was completed in June 2015, and the findings are interesting, if not helpful in giving today’s leaders a reference point.


In response to the question “what are your company’s biggest challenges,” CEO’s stated:


  • The rapid pace of technological innovation (72%)
  • Cyber security (66%)
  • Increased regulation (61%)
  • Shortage of skilled labor (34%)
  • Management diversity (25%)


  • Competition from a start-up (20%)
  • Shareholder activism (20%)
  • Competition from China, developing countries (4%)


I’m guessing many of you reading this can resonate with that list, probably regardless of your organization type (business, hospital, school, nonprofit), location, or size.  Just knowing the perspective of other leaders can be helpful in understanding your environment, in setting priorities.


In terms of the general business and workforce environment, Fortune reports:


  • 94% of CEOs agree with the statement “My company will change more in the next five years than it has in the last five years”


  • 67% say a public company has equal responsibility to customers, shareholders, employees, and the broader community
  • 82% plan to employ more people two years from now


  • 80% of CEOs say they directly answer all or most of their email
  • The average CEO has between four and 12 direct reports


Incidentally, CEOs responded that their favorite book is Good to Great by Jim Collins, followed closely by Malcolm GladwellOutliers.  The most respected leader, according to the Fortune CEO study, is Ronald Reagan, followed by Winston Churchill and Warren Buffet.  Interesting information, but maybe only slightly more relevant than toilet paper.


These survey findings might confirm (or challenge) your own perspective.  Either way, they can be helpful to leaders in forming a world view.  Which really is the point I’m trying to make. Leaders need a way to understand how their perspective compares to others in the broader community.  Confirming or validating your perspectives can be helpful for planning and decision making.  Sometimes it’s even more valuable to find contrarian perspectives, as those potentially help leaders identify blind spots or new areas to explore.  If the majority believes something is a certain way and that way is counter to your view, it either means you have discovered something novel – or you may need to rethink your position.


This exactly what is going on in the SourceMob InnerCircle™ Peer-to-Peer Group. If you haven’t had a chance to save your seat, I have an exciting offer for you. Sign up for any of the upcoming February SourceMob Webinars and you will get a personal invite to register for the InnerCircle group starting March 1st.

Your trial begins in March and it last for 60 days. After that it is only $49 per month and you can cancel at any time.


ABOUT SOURCEMOB: SourceMob integrates Internet, social, talent community, HR Analytics and social listening solutions, Recruitment Marketing and mobile recruiting solutions to help talent acquisition professionals source the very best candidates for tough-to-fill positions. SourceMob’s solutions seamlessly distribute conversations, engagement and job content, all done on autopilot, providing a job posting springboard to over 3.5 billion candidate profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and all of the major search engines. We help you engage with your candidates and capture niche passive candidates. Our solutions also enable Mobile Quick Apply and candidate application management services to create more efficiency and lower recruiting costs. Plus, you won’t need your IT Team or HR Department to implement them. That is the beauty of the SourceMob platform.

Looking forward to hearing from you…



Jeffery Giesener




Post by Brian Lassiter edited for HCM by Jeffery Giesener