Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Well, I Assumed..."

This has been a life lesson for me – or should I say, a lifelong lesson? It may sound funny, but I sometimes truly struggle with the concept that everyone does NOT think like I do! I am being facetious, but seriously,  I have found myself in the occasional sticky situation because I assumed the other party would surely think along the same lines as I did, (which of course were so very logical, at least to my way of thinking). DANGER! DANGER! Whenever I think I have the best most logical approach, I am probably wrong. Other people also possess critical thinking skills, possibly surpassing my own and may also have expertise and experience I do not.
What can I do to avoid assuming?
  • When carrying out a task or making a decision, ask, “What am I possibly overlooking in this scenario?”
  • When working with others, ask questions, questions and more questions at the risk of annoying the other person. Information solves the problem of assuming. I go from assuming to knowing what that person wants and how they plan on carrying out a goal.
  • Don’t be speedy. It’s the nature of the beast in business to get the job done expediently and quickly. But speeding through a process lends itself to assuming. In the rush to get things done to move the project along and thereby please the client, it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming.
  • I do not know best. This mindset is a basic trait of human nature and we all do it. I can make myself believe if it is done my way it will come out best. Not so. This mindset is a partner to assumption.
  • Say "No" to missing communication. If the other party does not respond to my questions or communications, I won't let that be the reason I assume. I have been on both ends of this dilemma. I cannot beat the drum hard enough for Communication. I like the acronym, TAP
    • Thoroughly communicate your ideas, concerns and questions.
    • Attentively  and actively read or listen.
    • Provide accurate and timely responses.
    Documentation or a recap of a verbal communication when needed is also a good idea especially for visual people.
In addition, it also helps me to step back and even consult with others to veer away from the DANGER of assuming and make high quality decisions in business and life.