Assumptions – those sneaky, sly fellows that wreak havoc

I’m a huge fan of assumptions, or rather busting those sneaky, sly fellows before they have a chance to loom large.

Making assumptions is the cause of a good deal of conflict, of misperceptions, of stereotyping and of generally mis-seeing our colleagues, companies and collective communities.

As big a role as assumption making plays in making business slide sideways, assumptions are decidedly difficult to see let alone break.

Here are three examples ~

1. One the entrepreneurial front:

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at Melody Biringer’s Crave book launch – Craving Success – a startup junkie’s path from passion to profits.  The book’s a winner, easy to read, informative and entertaining.  What’s more Melody talks about assumption busting.  For her successful Crave book series (a series of books that profile women-owned businesses city by city) Melody turned an assumption on its head.

The assumption?  That Melodie had to front the cost of publishing the books.  The assumption busting?  That she now charges profiled women business owners for a guaranteed number copies in advance.  Clever?  You bet.  That’s the power of busting assumptions.

2. On the home front:

I recently wrote a post called Tipsy fridges that tip learning over the top which is about how much I learned from a freezer door that wouldn’t close.  The door repeatedly wouldn’t close properly and I tried everything to make it work.  The first thing I tried was making sure nothing in the freezer was blocking it from closing.  I was sure there wasn’t.

Many strategies (and curse words) later, I came back to my original assumption – that nothing was blocking the door.  Turns out the box of frozen veggie burgers were slightly sticking out.

Scoreboard – Assumption – 1    Me – 0

2. On the work front:

A while back I did a training for a client on team building that I will never forget.  Oddly it came out that the participants vehemently, passionately, fervently believed that old … men.  who wore hats … were really bad drivers.

An assumption?  You bet.  A stereotype?  Of course.  What does wearing a hat have to do with how you drive?   Nada.  But to this group it was Truth.

That’s the power of assumptions to blind you.

The next time you’re faced with a tricky situation see if you can tease out any assumptions you’re making.  I promise you it will change the view.


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