Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Inquiry and Exploration vs. Assumption

I had a conversation with a business acquaintance   Upon sharing a story she jumped to a conclusion about the motivation for my actions.  She was critical, and shared her advice, but she was wrong about my intention.  It was not a major issue, nor was she seeking conflict.... yet her point of perspective was wrong, so her advice was useless.

I tried to explain where I was coming from, but she was pretty sure I was just being defensive.  It was not a big deal, but she had filled in a lot of blanks without having any first hand knowledge of the back-story.  Since we are not close friends, her decisions how I thought on the situation came from inside her head, not from anything she knows about how I view the world.

This happens often to all of us.  It is so easy to take a slice of information and make assumptions about the whole picture.  We all do it.  This incident reminded me about how often it happens, and how wrong any one of us can be when we jump to conclusions.  In business and our personal lives we are making decisions about others think when there is no way to really know what goes on inside their heads.

Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker in the 1976 classic film "The Bad News Bears" summed it up best.  He wrote on the chalk board the word "ASSUME" then pointed out to the young team that when you assume you make an "ASS" out of "U" and "ME", while circling each part of the word.  I have always tried to remember this (it made an impression, as I was ten-years-old...and he said "ass"!).

How often are we making asses of ourselves (and others) because we are not asking questions instead of making assumptions?  

Take a minute and look at your interactions with other people today.  How many of your opinions are based on inquiry and exploration vs. how much is based on assumptions?  

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good points Thom.

I learned it from a drill seargent and remember it to this day.