Assumptions are the Lowest Form of Knowledge!

This is a phrase I’ve used to challenge coaching clients who start out with: 

How often have you assumed someone said or did something to later find out that it was not true or that it never happened or that you spoke too soon?  In our new hybrid work environment, how prevalent are assumptions?

Your Post Pandemic Assumptions

Do we assume that someone you haven’t seen for 12+ months hasn’t changed during the pandemic? Or that work environments mirror 2019 or that you can merely resume as before?  How do we all work together now that we work a hybrid schedule or that we are forced to return to the office as before and skip the hybrid model?

How can we listen more carefully now that we are back together?  Will we ground our suspicions or rumors?  Can we work on understanding people better, including our specific needs?

As for the hybrid work schedule how do we factor in productivity with the people’s preferences, the tasks, the workflow, the time constraints, the space or place where the work is done?  

Recently in the Harvard Business Review, Lynda Gratton suggests:

Start by identifying key jobs and tasks, determine what drives productivity and performance…think about the arrangements that would serve [your employees] best. Engage employees in the process…. Think expansively and creatively…. Communicate broadly so that…everyone understands…. Train leaders in the management of hybrid teams…. Finally ask yourself whether your new hybrid arrangements, whatever they are, accentuate your company’s values and support its culture.  “How to do Hybrid Right,”

Harvard Business Review, May-June 2021, pp. 66-74.

Today’s working environment requires that we listen more.   If we “push-out” content, our point of view, or our position, can we stop and ask ourselves:

  • Have we asked enough questions? 
  • Have we assumed something about a colleague or client or customer? 
  • Did we take the time to ask a “difficult question” or become “uncomfortable” enough to deal with that difficult situation?
  • What culture are we promoting? 
  • What culture are we building for the future?

Again, assumptions are the lowest form of knowledge!