With the year-end fast approaching many companies are busy charting their course to the promised land in 2016.
New results require new thinking, and new thinking starts by questioning your beliefs about your company, your customers, your competitors … everything. It starts by attacking your assumptions.
For over a hundred years every baseball expert knew – knew – that the best measure of a hitter’s performance was batting average. Until analytics showed that a better measure is actually on-base percentage. Why? While the act of hitting safely is important, what is more relevant to scoring runs is how often a batter gets on base, whether by hits, walks, or being hit by a pitch.
Today, many football experts know – know – that when the opposing team lines up for a potentially game-winning field goal you should call a time-out to rattle the kicker. Yet the analytics show that this tactic helps to focus kickers, not rattle them, because their success rate goes up by two percent!
Today in your industry, everyone knows – knows – that … see where we’re headed?
Attack your assumptions. And that’s a lot easier to do if you lease your assumptions instead of owning them. Reserve the right to learn, to take in new information and revise your beliefs. It’s not a matter of being right or wrong. It’s a matter of growing stronger and becoming more effective.
The only safe assumption is that some of your existing assumptions need to change.
(Just after writing this blog I was reading the latest edition of Success magazine and saw this quote from Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek: “I realized that my entire life has been focused on questioning assumptions. I’ve seen a lot of smart people fail when they aren’t questioning their assumptions.”)