A culture of assumptions


It will be wise to introspect if we usually have all the information that we need for our decision-making and action-taking. If we do, we would know that we don’t have all the information most of the time and we have the habit of assuming things about which we have no information. Two interesting “facts” that come out in this assumption (by the way, these “facts” are also my assumptions, 😊) are as below:

1. We are very confident in our assumptions and consider them as facts, and

2. These assumptions are rarely positive.


What does it teach us? Many things, if we are open to analysing our own minds. The first thing it teaches us is that most of us are always afraid of the future, and the second thing is that our imagination about the outcomes of future events is mostly negative. But, how does it matter to the company culture, in which I usually write? It does. It does great damage every time when we assume things without knowing the facts.

Let us understand what affects culture. The senior management’s ideas and opinions about the company employees, including the middle-level managers, greatly affect the culture. The above two reasons bring a lack of trust between the top management and the lower-level functionaries. It goes into the subconscious of the top management that the lower formation is either not capable or efficient or interested in the long-term interest of the company. Even if it is true for 10-15% of the staff, balance of 85% is as loyal and sincere to the company as the founder itself. When we start doubting everyone at the lower level, the sincere ones also get hurt and lose interest or motivation or both.


The easiest remedy to this is to have a dialogue with everyone who is a leader down the line. I am sure the management has the data as to who are leaders in the organisation across the rank and file. So, once the leaders are ready and the questions are ready for the dialogue, we need to have a desire to ask difficult questions and listen to difficult honest questions and their answers from everyone. Slowly this will remove the role of assumption in the decision-making.


But it is easier said than done. People are very selective in whom they trust and in whom they don’t. Trust is all about the psychological safety one feels in our interactions with others. Trust is all about our limitations in exposing ourselves before others, whether physically or emotionally. We go into a shell rather than answer difficult questions about ourselves and our relationships. We give vague replies that do not show the complete truth of the story or event. We hide more than we show unless there is a formidable trust in the background.


So, where do we begin? As usual, we begin with ourselves. We begin by trusting others even if there is proof to the contrary. We begin by telling people that we trust them and really do that. We don’t say that we trust but don’t trust them. My personal experience says that if people trust, the majority of us try to keep the trust alive through our actions. However, there is no guarantee. It is our calling. Do we want to build trust in our relationships at home and office despite occasional hiccups? Or do we want to be on guard all the time, making our relationships semi-toxic? We can only try and see. Sometimes, we might fail, but most of the time we succeed. Culture building is never an easy task.


Let us try. Let us begin with #makingworkplaceshappier.

#assumptions #trust #businessculture #people #psychologicalsafety #relationship #conversations #questions

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