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
No Life Direction? No Problem.
Have you ever suffered as a result of having no life direction? Here's a tip on tapping into and trusting the power of your intuition.
January 30, 2018
4.1 min read