As one who is a student (and on occasion, teacher) of Leadership, I am constantly alert to what dangers lurk on the path of leadership. One of the most dread-some spots on the path is the quicksand of assumption. You take a step assuming you are on solid ground, instead you sink.
Then the more you struggle to make your assumptions work, the deeper you sink.
You are helpless to extricate yourself from the quagmire until someone comes along who recognizes the assumption error you have stepped into.
Tim Nations has done us a favor and identified 7 frequent types of assumption.
I resonated with these, perhaps because I have oft been guilty of confidently stepping into them only to find myself sinking in my own ignorance. Here are the 7 assumptions he identifies.
Assumption 1 – Anchoring: Our first ideas are our best ideas.
Assumption 2 – Framing: The options within our field of view are the only ones we need to consider.
Assumption 3 – Confirmation Bias: Seeking information that supports our decisions while ignoring data that challenges them.
Assumption 4 – Insider Bias: Others understand the issue the way that I do.
Assumption 5 – Gambler’s Fallacy: Past events will influence future outcomes.
Assumption 6 – Overconfidence: Thinking we know more about how the future will turn out than we really do.
Assumption 7 – Commitment Escalation: Pouring more effort and resources into our decisions will increase our chances of success.