Ducks in Trees
Have you ever made an assumption about a person or situation, that turned out to be completely wrong? Do you find yourself doing this regularly; if you're like the rest of us, the correct answer is yes! We all do it, how can we become better at seeking first to more fully understand a situation before coming to a false conclusion?
It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.
~ Jonathan Swift
The Full Scoop
I was out for a walk recently in Tampa Florida, when I saw a duck perched high in a tree. I was surprised to see it waddling up and down different tree branches, I supposed I've always assumed a duck would have no business in a tree. I was wrong and learned something new about our local animal life, which I had almost missed as I typically ruminate about our technology business and client projects while walking; instead of being present in the moment and enjoying nature.
A lot of frustrations in business stem from assumptions we make based on limited information, and then our imposing those assumptions against unmet expectations. Incorrect assumptions mixed with ones expectations can be a sour combination. This can happen regularly, especially in an industry that provides complicated IT Services to a broad user base.
Before coming to a conclusion on a situation, seek first to understand. Keep your mind open and entertain the variety of possibilities being presented. If a client is upset, assume they have good reason to be; while you seek to resolve their concerns. Abigail Adams once said, "I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic."
We've all been in meetings where someone, upon briefly hearing of a situation, begins to provide advice or counter arguments. Your advice is worth the sum parts of not only your experience, but your proper application of that experience to the situation at hand. Our IT Helpdesk is often approached with requests from users with little information to go off of, and we need to remind ourselves regularly, to dig into understanding the issue presenting themselves first; to prevent diving down a rat hole chasing the wrong problem.
We need to assume that our assumptions could be wrong. Once we open ourselves up to the possibility that we likely do not fully know the whys and hows behind a situation; we will be empowered to be an instrument in improving and resolving the daily challenges and opportunities we face.