What’s Your Perspective?
I have been thinking a lot about assumptions, particularly in the workplace. Our lives are filled with them. They have to be. If we didn’t assume our car would start each morning and others would stop when they were supposed to at intersections, it would be pretty hard to get to work every day. There are countless examples of things we believe to be true that without them would stifle productivity. But when can suppositions adversely impact an organization?
A couple of assumptions I consider harmful to organizations include:
- The assumption of how a person, team, or department will handle a situation based on a previous interaction. It’s important that we let go of past perceptions and biases. When we are quick to confirm pre-existing attitudes, we become close minded and dismiss different, often more logical, alternatives. It’s important to treat every interaction as new, letting go of predetermined motives for others’ behaviors or actions.
- Assumptions that teams making changes or rolling out a new service or process are doing it to purposely inconvenience others. This is a tough one. It’s easy to think that a change that negatively impacts you—whether it’s the timing of the change or the change itself—was intentionally done to disrupt others. In these situations, we shouldn’t assume the worst. If the timing was not ideal, perhaps the change couldn’t wait due to security issues or other concerns. If a change to a service or process adversely affects you or your operation, share the impact (in an appropriate and professional manner, of course) and be open to understanding that sometimes changes are necessary for the benefit of the entire MSU community.
- There will always be changes that result in our initial negative reaction, but we should hold ourselves accountable to ask some reflective questions, such as:
- How much does this really impact me?
- Can I work around the new issues by simply changing business processes for improvement or modernization?
As we work to transform the university’s information technology environment, we must consider alternative approaches, views, and new perspectives. Assumptions we carry forward from the past will pose significant barriers to our progress. In particular, they will hinder our ability to consider all that is possible, place limits on our capacity to try something new, and have detrimental consequences to the relationships we have tried very hard to foster.
It’s about perspective. What will yours be?
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