017: You Know What They Say About Assumptions

017: You Know What They Say About Assumptions

Assumptions… they usually get a bad rap.   But today we’re going to dig a little deeper and see how they can actually help us if we use them wisely   

You know what happens when you assume, right? You make an…

Yeah, well, I’ll actually let YOU finish that sentence on your own. And… if you don’t know what I’m talking about, head over to the Google after this and just search for “when you assume”.

Now, I’m here to shed a little more light on assumptions.

Obviously, they have a PR problem. I mean, imagine if whenever anyone mentioned you, the first thing that popped into their head was that something really bad happens whenever you’re around.

Yeah, that’s what it’s like for assumptions.

They have to live with this dark cloud hanging over their very existence.

And I get it. Usually, when they’re around bad stuff happens.

But I want to dig a little bit deeper into assumptions today.

I’d like to propose that they actually can have a lot of value, but that they have to be used wisely.

You see, assumptions are sort of like a short cut.

When you say that you assumed something, you are basically saying that you took a short cut in your thinking or investigating or conversations.

As the saying goes, maybe you even “jumped to conclusions”.

But honestly, we assume things all the time. And if we didn’t life would grind to a halt.

We take calculated risks, we believe certain things to be true about the world around us.

We assume that our house isn’t going to fall apart today or that the milk that was perfectly fine in our refrigerator yesterday hasn’t totally turned to curdled yuck overnight. That we weren’t on mute when we chimed in with that perfectly timed response in our zoom call.

There are things that we assume every day… but we just don’t call them assumptions.

What I would like to propose is that most assumptions are fine… they just need to be interrogated. They need to be sat down in that dark room with the spotlight on them. And then we need to ask them some really tough questions.

If we’re willing to do this, then assumptions can actually be good. They can be beneficial. They can save us time.

If you question an assumption and it can’t give you a solid answer, then you need to do more work on your part.

For example, let’s say you have a big meeting coming up with a customer. You set it up weeks ago and you need to make sure that they will be present.

But you haven’t had any communication with them recently about it.

You have a choice to make. You can either assume that all is good on their end. Or, you can just shoot them an email to make sure that they are still good for the meeting. 

An email that might take you a few minutes but could save a ton of waste and add tension to the relationship if they didn’t show.

Maybe they had emailed you last Tuesday saying that they had to reschedule but it got lost in your inbox. Or maybe they never got the initial request. Or maybe something else urgent has come up and they were so consumed with it that they had forgotten about the meeting.

Whatever the reason, if you have any uneasiness in your gut or if there might be a big downside to a potential miscommunication, then it’s worth your time to just check in and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

We’ve all experienced the bad side of assumptions and have been burnt by not interrogating ours or we’ve burnt someone else.

But together, you and I can help change the face of assumptions. Using them for good, instead of evil.

Try looking at them a little differently this week and how, when used well, they can actually be something positive.

Maybe the new phrase could be “You know what happens when you use assumptions wisely? You and I save a lot of time and energy!”

OK, so maybe that one needs a little work.

I hope you’ve been getting value from these episodes. If you have, I’d love it if you left a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite player. It truly means a lot and lets me help even more people. Thanks so much.

005: The Power of Communication

005: The Power of Communication

So much rides on good communication and yet we’ve all seen what happens when it goes bad. Miscommunication, assumptions, lost opportunities, stained relationships, waste and more. Today, we begin to lay the groundwork for topics we’ll cover in future episodes.   

If there’s a phrase that has captured the last year of life her in our world, it’s probably this: “you’re on mute”.

If you’re one of the handful of people who hasn’t been on a zoom, teams or other video call this last year I guess you missed out on this treat.

But for the rest of this, I’d say I’ve only heard this phrase uttered… every… single… meeting.

After a while, you just laugh because, for as advanced as we are as people and with all of this technology, we still (myself included… often) haven’t figured out how to unmute ourselves when we’re ready to talk in a virtual meeting.

At this point, it’s just become commonplace… and honestly quite funny. Most meetings, I’m making silent bets with myself on who will forget to unmute and how far we’ll make it into the meeting before someone does this.

But it just brings to the surface how important communication is. I’m not a great lip reader so I have a hard time figuring out what someone is saying when they’re muted… especially if their video is off too.

But in our daily lives, the same thing plays out over and over. Lack of communication. Or sometimes miscommunication.

And when that happens, in our home lives or especially in business, it can take a huge toll.

You’ve seen it happen over and over and I’m sure you’ve got some great examples that just rose up into your brain of when miscommunication cost you money in your business, or caused a rift in a team relationship or created a frustrated customer or disgruntled employee. I could go on. Products scrapped. Deadlines missed. Leadership questioned. Embarrassment. Wasted time. Pain. Brokenness.

It’s so crazy because it’s just words, right? It wasn’t like you meant to ship that product to your customer but you decided to toss it off the side of that bridge instead. Nope. You just sent that email and they read it differently than you did in your head.

Communication can be, at the same time, the simplest thing we use and deal with, and yet one of the most complex and potentially destructive when used the wrong way.

There’s so much to unpack in this area and I can’t wait to dig into all of it in the episodes ahead.

Communication affects both your people and processes in huge ways.

As a leader, you set the direction for this. When done well, good communication makes processes clear, helps team members know where they stand and feel valued, sets a plan of action for the company and a unified focus, eliminates so… much… waste.

Communication is just words. But those words are like rudders on a thousand tiny ships. And when those ships go off course, they collide, sink, cause destruction.

As we talk about the different ways communication affects your company, I want to give you little snapshots that can help you identify the areas that need adpdressed, give you hope and vision for communication done well, and bring to light pitfalls as well.

So, as we dig deeper into communication next time…

Sorry, I was on mute. My bad.