How Often Do You Question Assumptions?

We began a brainstorming session at work yesterday by going over a list of a potential client’s strengths – community presence, relationships with suppliers, and so on. Part-way into the discussion, I stopped and asked, "are these really their strengths?"

The potential client gave us that list of strengths; people had assumed that they were correct. Once we’d started to question that assumption, we were able to consider: were they really strengths, or just how the client wanted people to perceive them?

Last month I structured a proposal around a challenge to one of the potential client’s assumptions. We walked into the room and suggested that the situation wasn’t as they saw it.

We progressed to the next stage of the bid.

Not questioning assumptions… not asking the tough questions… can be dangerous. It allows falsehoods to go unchallenged and allows ineffective approaches to continue.

Is that really…?

Frequently ask yourself:

  • Is that really the situation?
  • Is that really the only approach we could take?
  • Is that really a good tactic?
  • Is that really worth their money?

Challenge your assumptions and challenge those of others. Often the assumptions will be right, but it’s worth doing it for the times when they aren’t.

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.