Saturday, April 16, 2011


Assumptions:  we all make them.  Many of them good, many of them bad.  I safely assumed when I woke up this morning I would have running water and electricity in my apartment.  That is a fairly safe, daily assumption.

The assumptions focused on here are the bad assumptions we make in our life, specifically in our business life.

Should we make assumptions if they are not safe assumptions?  Is it even considered an assumption if it’s not based on reality and it is more so based on how we are kidding ourselves? 

We assume somebody should have done something to make an excuse, to make ourselves feel better.  Instead of reflecting on what we did or didn’t do, we put the blame on others.  That temporarily makes us feel better.  That keeps us blinded to think that whatever we do is great and somebody else can always improve.  

As I briefly touched on in my previous post:  why is it, when we make assumptions, these pesky little thoughts, more times than not, fall onto the side of least effort?  And not only do these assumptions fall onto the side of least effort, but they fall onto the side of what somebody else should or should not have done. 

Instead of saying (x) should we be saying (y)?

x_  “I thought they understood my request”
y_  “I spent extra effort to explain the project and then checked with them to make sure it was on track”.

x  “I thought it would be easy”
y  “Even though it looks easy, I went back to review all the notes and prepared anyway.  That way in case something comes up, that’s off the radar, we’ll be prepared”. 

x  “I thought I understood the email”
y  “To avoid any misunderstandings, I read the email a few times and then called him to go over all points”
x_  “I thought I had sufficient time”
y_  “Since I didn’t know if time was sufficient I started earlier to make sure any extra time could be spent towards the project if necessary”.

x  “I thought I would get there in time”
y  “I figured traffic could be bad so I woke up earlier and left way ahead of schedule.”

x  “I assumed quality would be good”
y  “Since you cannot take anything for granted (especially when dealing with a developing country), we visited the factory to check the production procedures before the process got too-far along”

x  “I assumed I gave you enough time to quote so I promised my buyer we’d have it in time”
y “I wasn’t sure how much time would be required for the job, so before I promise anything to the buyer, will call the factory to discuss time parameters”

x  “They told me the would have it on time”
y  “Even though they told me they would have it on time, I further investigated with the factory and asked them to prove the steps they were going to take and in what timeframe.  This way, I can doubly-assure they will achieve what they said”.

I could give more examples but you probably get my drift.  Why do we take the easy route?  What is it that prevents us from stopping what we’re doing and deciding to take things a little bit more seriously?  We all do it, but the question is; how to improve?

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