Relying on Conversations, Not Assumptions

Bobbie Shrivastav

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Benekiva



"A few weeks ago I received a very long and intense text from one of my colleagues. I read it and immediately started to defend it. I also went ahead and created an opportunity for the two of us to connect and to clear up any misunderstanding. The next day, as the conversation unfolded, both parties assumed things about each other. If my colleague had not started the conversation our relationship could have suffered and I would have had zero clue as to why. My question is, how often do we travel through life making assumptions about others and don't share it with them? Have you ever bought a software product to find out what you assumed the organization wanted wasn't really what the software provides? How often have you made assumptions of a process without conversations with process owners? How many times do we make assumptions about people only to find out that they weren't right?"

Actions taken

"Creating an assumption is not a bad thing when it comes to the things we seek to purchase or processes to create. Having a documented list of assumptions and validating those with the business owners is the best practice in the technology space. Making assumptions and not validating is when things fall out, especially when it comes to humans. With human beings, the process of expressing assumptions can create feelings of disappointment, frustration, and energy loss. Who suffers from assumptions? The person creating the assumption. The other party has no clue of what you think about them. When a seed of doubt about someone arises, rather than allowing your brain and allowing it to start creating a horrible story from assumptions, do the following:

  • Call the person or set-up time to meet the person.
  • Have a dialogue, and share with your assumptions.
  • Ask questions.
  • Go away with a clear understanding. You might save a relationship!"

Lessons learned

  • "If you don't have the energy to spend time in clearing up assumptions - Don't make them!"
  • "The next time, a friend of colleague starts a conversation, and you hear the word 'assume', whether it is about you or someone else, STOP (as my 2.5 years old daughter would state) and have a dialogue or encourage them to have a dialogue with that individual."

Source: LinkedIn

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Bobbie Shrivastav

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Benekiva

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