Making Assumptions

My first post of 2012 is one which is very much a reflection on 2011 and also about looking forward.

One of the things I did last year which I have now firmly embedded in my approach to work and actually life in general is to never, NEVER, EVER make assumptions.

Assumptions about:

  • people – this is an obvious one really, people are unpredictable and act differently when faced with hugely challenging situations as well as other personal and professional pressures.
  • processes – there are a range of processes which are logical but most don’t actually make sense when looking at them…I have made mistakes in the past about assuming that a particular process would result in specific actions taking place – but they didn’t and unfortunately i spent some time remedying that which if I’d thought about it and checked the process then it would have saved time.
  • technology – technology amazes me, at a basic level, remote controls for TV’s still blow my mind…as do mobile phones. However we can never assume that people use technology in the same way…my use of computers, mobile phones and technology in general differs greatly from my mothers for example…I can’t and must never assume people operate the same…
  • organisations – some organisations don’t actually act as you’d expect in certain conditions, for example the restructure process last year here at the council highlighted a few things to me personally which I’d not experienced before and ultimately led to me staying with the council.

One area where all of these assumptions come together is when you start to write and share strategies, plans and projects.

Now you can create very lengthy documents which allow you to capture all the “strategic assumptions” but this isn’t always a practical approach, nor is it what your readers actually want (no assumption made here as this is based on actual feedback – shorter and clearer documents are preferred)…however it is worth capturing and highlighting the assumptions as it does avoid the unnecessary┬ádiscussions about all the stuff that “isn’t written down”.

Anyway…the key point to this post is that I can’t and mustn’t assume anything and that is a key lesson which was validated through last year.

What do you think?

What assumptions do you or are you making?


New Year Reflections and Thank you’s

As we enter a new year and a new decade, I’ve started to reflect and think about the opportunities and challenges ahead and more importantly who will be collaborators on that journey.

This year promises and is pretty much certain to be “very” interesting one, my employer will be making cuts and that will mean people will lose their jobs – I am not immune from that process – so it inevitably makes you think about what might happen and how one would deal or adapt to those situations should they arise.

This time last year the team I work in at the council had to reduce by 2 FTE’s which was not a nice thing and that experience will be much more common over the coming months, not just in my council but across the whole sector. A lot of good people will be leaving the sector and I hope and wish that they continue to be collaborators with the public sector as it will need all the help it can get to get through the next 3-4 years.

The biggest thing last years process did for me was to proactively look at alternative employment opportunities, whether full or part time and luckily last July I was offered a part time position with Cosmic (a ICT Social Enterprise) and that has made such a huge difference to my personal motivation and personal development – the cultural differences are huge and more importantly refreshing.

Whilst this year will be challenging and in some cases pretty horrid, it will also be one of the most interesting and I’m really looking forward to working with so many amazing people who are passionate about making a difference, not just locally but as far as their influence can reach.

I hope to meet more twitter folk face to face as you are all even more interesting in person and it is great to share more than 140 characters with people.

I’d like to highlight a few people who I know will play a huge part in my life or will influence me one way or the other during the next 12-18 months.

Many more of you will also play a huge part and I look forward to working and collaborating with you all during 2011.

Happy New Year to you all. ­čÖé