Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Probing Your Assumptions

Often, leaders and organizations make flawed decisions because they do NOT make key assumptions explicit and then scrutinize those assumptions carefully. Here are seven questions that I proposed in my last book for helping leaders evaluate the validity of key assumptions being made by decision-makers:

1. What are the facts in this situation?

2. What issues remain ambiguous or uncertain?

3. What explicit and implicit assumptions have we made?

4. Have we confused facts with assumptions?

5. How would an outsider with an unbiased perspective evaluate each of our assumptions?

6. How would our conclusions change if each of our key assumptions proves incorrect?

7. Can we collect data, conduct a simple experiment, or perform certain analysis to validate or disprove crucial assumptions?


ken long said...

Mike: i think you mean "do NOT" make assumptions explicit

i agree with your point: in military planning, we may have dozens of assumptions to make in order to proceed with a campaign plan lasting many months; we have to "operationalize" them, and decide which ones need to be prioritized for turning into facts

Michael Roberto said...

Correction made! Thanks for noticing that error, Ken.