Saturday, December 03, 2005


If we all lived by the assumption that what is accepted as true is, in fact true, then we would not only stagnate we would made radical, life altering decisions based on myth, not fact. However the power of making decisions based on assumptions, is that it generally spirals us downwards.

Communicating to others, colleagues, managers, etc. or, in this case not communicating, based on an assumption you don’t provide value because you never heard how wonderful you were, or something similar, makes it true because the tendency would be to close down and not share expertise or wisdom. Even if the others around the table thought otherwise, how you react to your own assumptions will prove it right. If you’re quiet and not interactive they WILL believe you have nothing of value to share.

Another example is when you assume you have communicated your needs or instructions so they were absolutely understood. There were no questions asked around the table so everyone MUST know what is needed, right? Not necessarily. Many other factors come to play, some of which are, they are distracted by what is coming up next, focused on one aspect of the work and didn’t even hear the rest etc etc. Never assume. Always ask if any of them need clarification before leaving the room. That will save you both a lot of “doing work over and fix-ups’ later.

Challenging assumptions is what leads you to the truth of the situation.

When I Shadow Coach a client and ask them if they are making an assumption that they might not be aware of, that’s where our conversation goes. What might other possibilities be? Why is it, human nature looks at the negative first? An assumption in itself… always has to be something ‘bad’.

What are the other possibilities? Often, being passed over or not acknowledged has nothing whatsoever to do with you. Rather the other person could be distracted, have a hidden agenda of what he/he wants out of a meeting or conversation. The greatest assumption we can make is that it’s always about us.

What if it wasn’t? How would that change the entire scenario and what if you asked for clarification before making that important decision? Whether it’s about a relationship, job, position or task, knowing the facts rather than assuming them will save you a heck of a lot of trouble and heartache along the way. Get over yourself. You’re not that important that it always has to be about you.

"Telling the future by looking at the past assumes that conditions remain constant. This is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror." -- Herb Brody.

It’s putting it all in perspective.

Donna Karlin

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