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?


How do ants know what to do?

I was sent an email yesterday , which i didn’t get around to looking at until today, i looked at my twitter feed and noticed Dave Briggs had posted some links and one of them focused on a response to Ads on local council websites. The exact email i had been sent…..An interesting concept but something I don’t agree with, if they are purely commercial. Unless we can control what and who i don’t think we will be embarking on this journey sometime soon.

Paul Canning has an interesting perspective on this topic, which is worth a read…

There are some implications to brand and reputation which will need to be managed or at least acknowledged going down this route. BUT and i guess this contradicts myself here if we could support local businesses or even regional businesses then it maybe something we could consider, but is isn’t something to get me excited about this month.

I was reading a bit more Clay Shirky, “Here comes everybody – The power of organising without organisations”. It got me thinking about “How do ants know what to do” this is an interesting overlap in that ants organise themselves without organisations and each one knows exactly what to do….maybe an ant version of CB radio or sms exists which we can’t measure, after all they have some great antenna, they must be used for something!