On Assumption, Part II

(Part I is here)

The other morning, I decided it was just too cold for me to walk across the bridge with the wind, and I elected to catch the #7 bus from South Station to work. Usually, I get off right after the bridge across the channel.

This morning, however, I watched that stop pass me right by.

The next stop was out at the Boston Convention and Exhibition center. I had to walk back from that stop–a much longer, colder walk than the one I was avoiding. And, of course, the #7 bus passed me on the way back, too.

What happened? Well, every other time I rode the bus, someone else had pressed the “stop requested” tape. Somehow, in my brain, I really really thought that someone had pressed it already.

Faulty assumption, where I didn’t even know I was making an assumption.

How does this pertain to leading geeks?

Well, we all live inside our own minds, where we interpret the world around us. Inside that vast, cavernous spac–er, that world, we react to things based on how we interpret them. That interpretation can include assumption, where we assume that something exists or happens. Unfortunately, under stressful conditions (or lack of sleep and/or caffeine), those assumptions can be faulty.

As a leader, I find that I have to be willing to re-interpret my assumptions to fit the “real” world of my geeks sometimes. And when my assumptions are wrong? Let’s just say that my ego takes a long, cold walk back to reality.