Assuming can be a good thing—a prudent diet and regular exercise is good for you. Raw food is better than the processed kind. But more often than not, assumptions are unverified, knee-jerk statements that can hold you back. Question Assumptions!
Consider when the Atlantic Falcons recently decided to take a risk and reduce football stadium concession prices. Their CFO advised against it. They were assuming deep losses would prevail but that didn’t happen. In fact, food purchases increased by 16 percent and more families came to the game. Ticket revenue is more lucrative, so revenue increase was substantial.
I have a friend who is the Executive Director of a non-profit. Their fish-fry fund raiser typically brought modest results. For this year he wanted to stretch, stop charging per plate and simply ask for donations. The board was against the change. They were assuming it would not work.
After considerable debate, they finally relented when the plan was for a “trial.” They agreed to the change for one year. The result was immediate. Volunteers saw an increase in generosity. One supporter gave a server a $100.00 tip. Overall the effort raised 24% more than any previous year.
I see this in team interaction and management too. There is assuming and reluctance going on. For a wide variety of (mythical)reasons, managers, even team members have a tendency to hold on to what they know. The familiar, even if it’s a wrong assumption, seems better than the risk.
But, when team leaders and managers stretch their thinking and begin to delegate, give more trust and autonomy, promote ownership of the duties and results, something unforeseen or previously unknown kicks in. People step-up. They volunteer more of their input than ever before.
It’s as though humanity is waiting to be given a little opening, a little space and then they leap forward providing more than could have been imagined from previously held assumptions.
Being closed is a mistake. The trick is to stay open. To have your antennae raised and ready to create an opening. This requires trust, mostly trust in yourself.
Assuming can put you in the often wrong, never in doubt league.
Sign up for Brian’s Newsletter here…