Several years ago, a colleague had a sign in her office that read something like, “I get plenty of exercise jumping to conclusions, pushing my luck and dodging deadlines.” People always got a good chuckle after reading it, mostly because it wasn’t true – especially the part about dodging deadlines; she always had tasks done ahead of schedule.
Here are a few examples:
- This morning, I wanted to send an email and it kept getting returned. It wasn’t until I spoke to the person and spelled back the email address that I realized I was putting in the letter D and it should have been the letter T. I know someone with a similar name and it is spelled with a D.
- A few weeks ago, during a training session, the general manager told a story about how a few years ago the company purchased new delivery vehicles. The vehicles had the name of the technician assigned to the vehicle painted on the driver’s side door. During the time it was taking to get this accomplished, he overheard a conversation between two employees in the break room discussing that another employee, (who we will call Fred) must be getting fired. The general manager approached the two employees and asked why they thought Fred was losing his job. “Because,” one responded, “there isn’t a new van with his name on it.” The GM replied that one had been ordered, but because Fred was on medical leave, it was scheduled to arrive to coincide with his return to work.
- In a television re-run, an army officer and his son let their assumptions put a wedge into their relationship until an old friend of the officer intervened. In this case, both the officer and his son assumed their view of the facts was the “right” view. It wasn’t until the old friend, who had heard both sides of the story, could bring them together and see each other’s point of view. Of course, most of the time, in an old TV western, it all works out for everyone. In real life, that’s not always the case.
In all these examples, we can see that we can get stuck in our way of thinking. We don’t check our assumptions, and therefore, important relationships deteriorate.
Over the next few days, check your assumptions, ask questions and get feedback. Post your experience here. I’d love to hear from you.