Posted by Robert Beauchemin on Sep 9, 2010

As the saying goes, assuming often makes an ASS of U and ME. Assuming is often lethal in business, in sales, or in managing people. Assuming that history is a warrant for the future will likely prove wrong. Assuming that co-workers, partners, customers will tell you all the truth and nothing but the truth will likely prove wrong. Assuming that your staff will easily change their current modus operandi will likely prove wrong.

For me, the opposite of "to assume" is "to know". And knowing requires research, analysis, conversations, argumentations, points of view, experiences and validation. Clearly, no one can know everything about every little detail. There such a thing as wanting to know too much. It leads to indecisiveness, procrastination, analysis paralysis and stagnation.

But there is a balance. For me, although there no way to truly measure this, the balance is in the 75/25 range – 75% data and facts and 25% intuition and gut feel.  And yes, we can argue it should be 70/30 or even 60/40, and it can vary based on the situation. But for sure, you have to do better than the flip of a coin, leading to a 50/50 change of being right/wrong. Certainly, you cannot go running a business on 20/80 ratio without getting yourself into trouble many times, way too many times, or perhaps one time too many. Read the rest of this entry »