The Biggest Hazard in Your Business

by | Sep 29, 2020

It’s probably one of the most well-used cliches in the English language. The first time I heard it, it came from the mouth of my youth pastor in high school. I don’t remember the context, but I will never forget him looking at me and uttering, “Chad if you assume it only makes an ass out of you and me.” Hearing a pastor say the word, “ass”, is not unlike hearing your grandmother use the word “negro”. You stop dead in your tracks. The world around you goes fuzzy as your brain uses every available neuron to try and compartmentalize what you just heard, and who you just heard it from. It short-circuited my brain for a split second, but I’ve never forgotten that profound advice, and have heard it countless times since.

We are hard-wired to make assumptions. It’s our brain’s way of being efficient and conserving energy. Our biases wait around for an opportunity and then willingly pitch in to lend a hand, but instead of carrying the television from the moving van to the living room, they unassumingly put it in the trunk of their car and drive away.

There is no greater hazard to your business, at any stage of growth than your own assumptions. And they are not in short supply.

You assume the customer is much more eager to buy based on body language or your own version of tone analysis. Because you assume the customer is going to buy you have already allocated the revenue from the sale.

You assume your team will love the new pet policy for the office, because, after all, who doesn’t love puppies? Your office would be a much happier relaxed place if everyone was able to bring their dog to work. Until Joan brings her Great Dane to work, eats a purchase order off of Bill’s desk, and Sarah is put off by the fact that the policy doesn’t include cats.

Assumptions are everywhere in our business, waiting to make an ass out of you, and I and they aren’t satisfied until we’re out of business. In his foundational book ‘The Lean Startup’, Eric Reis has developed a three-step feedback loop for validating or invalidating assumptions in your business. Build. Measure. Learn. Build the minimally viable version of something that could prove your assumption is correct. Put it out in the real world. Measure the results. And learn diligently from those results. Jim Collins refers to this as bullets, then cannonballs.

The first step is to take a ruthless inventory of every assumption you are currently making in your business. Every single unverified truth that you use to make decisions on. Once you have that inventory established, make a quantifiable plan for put each and everyone through a Build Measure Learn feedback loop. It will save your business.

One of the reasons I love Hölmetrics is that it provides quantifiable analysis for employee wellbeing, one of the things we make assumptions about the most. It provides a platform for building Build, Measure, Learn feedback loops inside your business because it provides real-time analysis on how things are affecting your team. You can even use it to split test things like a new pet policy, by testing it in one department or regional office and seeing the effect on that one subsection of your business before rolling it out to the whole company. If you’re interested in learning more about the value we can bring to your company, we’d love to chat! Reach out at [email protected] or call a customer success team member at 1-855-401-4849.