I hope you’ve had an Outperforming week!
On Monday, here in the U.S., we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. It got me thinking about assumptions. We ALL have them. We see someone that is black or white, rich or poor, democrat or republican, fit or overweight, overdressed or underdressed, and we assume something about the person.
To completely rid ourselves of assumptions is unrealistic. The best we can do is to recognize when it happens and to not let false assumptions cloud our judgment and behavior.
Wednesday night reminded me of this point.
I took an evening flight from Denver, CO, to Tampa, FL. I had run that day, at altitude, and the last thing I wanted to do was to show up in a warm-weather climate already dehydrated.
So, I drank water…A LOT of water. Throughout the 3 hour and 15 minute flight, I had five cans of this Deja Blue water…
I was basically chugging it.
Because it was an evening flight, they had the cabin lights dimmed. As we started our descent and I was polishing off my fifth can, the lady sitting next to me took off her headphones and turned to me.
We hadn't said anything to each other the entire flight.
"Oh, that's WATER in your can?!?!", she said. "I thought you were chugging BEER this whole time!"
I laughed hysterically and responded:
"You really thought I hammered down five beers on this flight???"
She obviously did.
Now, be honest--if you were sitting next to someone on an airplane and you saw them chug five cans of water vs. beer, what would your assumptions be about the person?
I'm guessing they'd be very different. Mine would be too.
I'm not proud to admit that, in my younger days, I used to be much more assuming and judgmental about people. But as I age gracefully into my latter years (turning 40 this year!), I'm trying hard not to be that way.
I think the world is a much better place when we don't assume things about people before knowing the real story.
You with me?
If you're a leader / manager of people and this post resonated with you, you may want to check out research on the Expectation-Performance Process (EPP). How could your assumptions (accurate or inaccurate) about a direct report or team member be influencing their performance? Or contact me for speaking or training options to Outperform.