Recently I was discussing a project with a volunteer for a non-profit organization I am involved with in a leadership position. The volunteer had done some excellent work and delivered on what they promised.
I was confused with one of the deliverables of the project. There was no mention of a tactic within the project that I thought would be helpful. So I asked the question why didn’t it appear at all in their work?
The response that I was given was quite elaborate and very logical. What was interesting is that the premise that led to the elaborate logic was flawed. So while there was strong evidence of sound thinking, it missed the mark (by my estimation) because the starting point was incorrect.
This led me to reflect as to how many times I have done this to myself. In various situations — both personal and professional. I could convince people of almost anything and that is because I tend to argue from a base of logic. Sadly, many times my assumptions were wrong. This then led to poor outcomes.
I thought I was smart and my logic proved it (so I thought). Little did I understand that my starting points, my assumptions, could be so flawed. The way I viewed the world was too narrow and incomplete. Yet everything after that was so well crafted in convincing myself and others that I could never be wrong.
It took me many, many years to gain enough perspective to understand that our incorrect assumptions can easily sink us because we believe them so strongly to be true.
Don’t make the same mistake. Execution of any idea or project needs a plan. Agreed. But the chance for success or failure of the work you are about to do rests more strongly on what assumptions you have towards the project, the world around it, the tools you choose to use and the path you will ultimately travel to reach your end result. Always.
So now you are warned. Always test first what you believe to be true before you begin. Adjusting or modifying your assumptions before you begin by testing them with others should be a regular habit before beginning a project or plan.
This habit not only could save you time but more importantly could bring more leverage to your work making your outcomes less risky and more effective in even the short run.