September 25, 2017

Most of us need a kick up the…

Two businesspeople in slightly tense conversationNo, not that.

Most of us need a kick up the assumptions—our assumptions about what’s possible, about how things might happen, and especially about other people and our relationships with them.

We tend not to see how the assumptions we unconsciously make affect the outcome in any situation. We tend to get what we expect to get because much of what happens is really our own creation. The little actions we take tend to prompt responses that reinforce what we believe.

Often we’re reluctant to declare what our assumptions are and then allow them to be examined. The consequences might be embarrassing: It might become apparent that the premises we believe to be true and have acted upon aren’t true at all. And then more things might fall away—like all the work we’ve been focused on for the last while.

And so we keep our assumptions close. We hide them. But that’s a bad idea. We might go seriously off track without the feedback we need to stay connected to what’s real.

Then we might get a real kick up the…

First step is realising we are making assumptions.

Then we need to identify what they are and whether they really are justified.

They might not be. And then we can make progress.

Suspending your assumptions: Are you willing?

Senior businesswoman thinkingWe all have assumptions—beliefs about the world. We hold them pretty tight usually. We act in accordance with these beliefs, often rather unaware we’re doing so. Indeed, they tend to become part of who we are.

The result is our sense of identity gets tied up with our assumptions.

And so…

We don’t like to have them tested, much less found to be untrue. That feels personal.

And yet…

If our assumptions are wrong, our decisions are wrong, and we’re heading for a fall, or problems with other people.

Strangely perhaps, many people and organizations are quite unwilling to examine their own assumptions. Like much else, it’s an ego thing—too much indignity involved.

If we’re brave—with a strong sense of self—we can choose to “suspend” our assumptions, figuratively hanging them up for all to see. We can declare what we are assuming and put that to the test.

Not many are willing and brave enough to do this. Not many are secure enough in themselves. Not many are willing to not know, or even to be wrong.

Are you?

Better decisions beckon.