The power of assumptions: 4 simple questions to ask yourself to make sure your team really knows what they’re doing
The power of assumptions There’s a saying about the word assumption. That assume makes an ass of you and me. Get it? It’s not the most polished of phrases, but it tends to be true, if you think of the times in the past when you’ve been embarrassed or caught out or a project or deliverable that otherwise missed the mark. I was reminded of it today while facilitating a session to a group of team leaders. I asked them to think about several questions as they relate to their team and their leadership. The goal of my inquiry? To get folks thinking about what assumptions they have made about their team’s understanding of purpose, the overall vision, and the plan. 4 Simple Questions To what extend do we: Know how our work matters to the organization and our customers? Have a clear shared team purpose and do we talk about it? Agree explicitly on what our priorities are and decide what we will and will not do to manage workload? All have a shared understanding of the intent-based outcomes of each of our key deliverables? I had them rate themselves on a scale of 1-5, 5 being high on each of these questions and discuss. What was interesting was the discussion that ensued. Each leader reported back they had work to do in this area. In many cases, we take it for granted that 1) our direct reports know what the purpose of the team is, 2) know what the team priorities are and 3) understand the outcome and intent we are so keenly focused on. Except the fact of the matter is often they don’t. Then they start making assumptions about what is or isn’t important. And spend time on things that aren’t really value added or driving the overall mission and vision of the team. There’s a huge hidden cost to this in organizations. Don’t wait for the audit I remember back to my days in internal audit when I would turn up to do an audit of a business unit and I’d start interviewing stakeholders. I’d ask individuals on the same team to define what success looked like. 20 interviews and 20 completely different answers later, I’d write an audit finding about the lack of clear success criteria for the unit. Just because you think you know what it is, doesn’t mean that it’s translated. It reminds me of that childhood game called “telephone.” A group of people sitting in a circle, and one whispers into the ear of the next the secret which goes around the circle. What comes out on the other end rarely bares any resemblance to the original message. It’s up to you as a leader to constantly be checking in, to understand the extent to which others on a team really get the vision and mission that’s been laid out. As a leader, you’re in a position to influence these things. But we often dive so quickly into the doing, we […]
June 16, 2022
3.3 min read
It was a privilege to work with Shelley as my leadership coach! The process was structured and yet flexible enough to meet needs as they arose. Shelley helped me to grow, learn more about myself, and to really achieve what I set out to accomplish. We worked on planning, navigating a promotion successfully, and so much more! I experienced many successes as a result of working with Shelley, she has great resources, knowledge, and really helps with setting the foundation to this coaching work. She won’t let you down!
Having the opportunity to have Shelley as my Leadership Coach could not have come at a better time in my career. I was recently promoted to CFO and was new to the Senior Management Team. Shelley helped me navigate joining the team as well as helped me to determine who I wanted to be as a leader. The Leadership Circle Profile helped our team to discover our blinds spots and to be able to understand each other better. Working with Shelley not only has affected my professional life in a positive way, but also my personal life. She helped me take leaps and has given me the resources to continue this journey of self-improvement. If you’re looking to find more about yourself and how you can be the best version of yourself, I highly recommend working with Shelley.
I have been working with Shelley for the past 2 years on my leadership development journey. What I thought would be a straight line, I soon learned with Shelley’s guidance, was a winding path with several ups and downs along the way. Shelley supported me as I took a deep dive into my professional and personal history and learned how it affects my approach and my perceptions. She helped me to slow down and recognize certain behaviors and understand that I can pivot in the moment or try again next time. Ultimately, my work with Shelley turned out to be so much more than what I expected. Her approach to coaching was exactly what I needed.
Senior Vice President, Consulting
I’ve learned more about leadership in the past six months working with Shelley than I have in my 10+ year career. She is an incredible coach with many tools in her toolbox. The guidance and mentorship I’ve received from Shelley has been life-changing. She will challenge your limiting beliefs and inspire new ways of thinking.
I highly recommend Shelley if you need a coach, thought partner, and guide as you consider the next steps in your career. She provides practical tools and advice to help launch your career exploration, but most importantly, she is an expert at helping you cut through the noise of your limiting beliefs. At the end of our time together, I had a much clearer vision of what I wanted in my life and a plan to make it happen. My only regret is that I didn’t find her sooner!
My career coaching sessions with Shelley have brought me back to living. It’s been contagious, spreading throughout my personal and professional life. I now have the building blocks I need to continue setting healthy boundaries, the freedom to show up as my authentic self, and an adaption of a growth mindset that has allowed me to make bold decisions and try new things. I’ve discovered that there’s always another way and how to eradicate barriers that lead to tunnel vision. These sessions with Shelley have been a great gift and have given me the momentum I need to continue the journey to be my best self.
It is amazing to think where I was only 10 months ago when I first started working with Shelley and where I am now. Not only professionally but mentally and emotionally. Shelley helped me navigate out of an unhealthy work environment by challenging me and asking me those tough questions we never seem to ask ourselves. What are the values of a true leader? How do those values align with my own? Shelley challenging me and guiding me through some of those tough questions is what led to my epiphany and me having the courage and confidence to leave an environment that threatened my well-being. She taught me how to become more self-aware and self-compassionate. Reminded me to be kind even when the world would understand if I did otherwise. And the biggest one for me, shutting down that crazy inner voice (we all have it!) and replacing it with being present. Shelley has armed me with tools that I will carry with me for a lifetime. Tools that will help me to continue to grow and learn. Life can be hard but working with someone like Shelley does make it easier. She will help you navigate the good and the bad and you’ll learn so much about yourself in the process.
Director of Marketing
First of all I would like to say that I would recommend Shelley to anyone needing career guidance. As my counselor Shelley helped me transition my career from bartending to Tech Sales which was a difficult and scary transition for me. From the start Shelley was fantastic. Initially I had no idea of which direction I wanted my career to go, I just knew I wanted it to go somewhere else. Shelley was so kind and patient as she helped me figure this out, and gave me a step by step guide on how to explore my options and make an educated decision. She also helped me assess my skill set which played a large part in directing my energy. I landed a great job within days of my final session with Shelley, and now I’m month 3 I am absolutely loving it and doing very well. It was the perfect job for me and Shelley was the one that got me there. Working with Shelley was one of the best decisions I have ever made, she literally changed my life and I am so much happier for it.