You and I operate according to a series to basic assumptions which are part of the culture of our professional disciplines. What are yours?
Professional assumptions are beliefs taken to be true, even if there is inconclusive proof. Over time, professional assumptions are rationales – as well as excuses – for how you respond to just about any scenario that makes you professionally uncomfortable.
As a result, your assumptions foster and reinforce group behaviors, biases, and mindset which ultimately limit your cross-functional success. Because discipline-specific professional assumptions do not translate well across departmental silos and professional disciplines. In the competitive, uncertain, and often ambiguous global ecosystem, your professional assumptions today, hold you back from getting to where you need to go, tomorrow.
In speaking to, conducting workshops for, and coaching professionals like you, the most common professional assumptions shared with me are listed, below. My question to you is: how many assumptions are contained within each one of these statements? Think things over.
- “That person is not telling me anything I do not already have an answer for. Why should I bother listening to them?”
- “That individual assumes I am not as smart as they are. So why should I bother to try to get my point across?”
- “I already learned everything I need to know by the time I completed (or didn’t) high school. Why bother enrolling in further technical or academic training and development?”
- “The ideas I want to share with my team are not valued, so why should I speak up?”
- “I am not as professionally accomplished as the others, so I am not as worthy as they are.”
- (And the variation on the preceding statement) “That individual is a early career professional. I am a senior leader. They do not need to be part of this conversation.”
- And so on, etcetera……
Sound familiar? Doesn’t acknowledging those professional assumptions make you feel better about yourself? Of course not!
By describing, or even labeling, our professional assumptions, you let yourselves off the hook for taking action about them. Because once you analyze your (and everyone else’s) behavior, what do you do next? Of course! You file the scenario away inside your heads: until the next time the same scenario occurs. And then what happens? You smugly re-analyze what just happened (again), re-label your roles, and assume that by labeling your experiences as an example of a “syndrome”, you can label your mental file as “Complete.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Why? Your experiences of what you label hurt you. These experiences undermine your professional success, because you constantly replay them inside your brain. Your analyses of what happens, due to professional assumptions, mindset, biases and behaviors typically are retrospective, rather than proactive. Commonly, you are in a safe environment when you re-run the scenarios, although these continue to take up a lot of real estate inside your brain. Knowing and understanding and analyzing are not the same as taking action and responding and doing. Together.
Professional assumptions are the root cause of many of your professional experiences. What happens when you speak up and speak out about what you experience: in the moment? Because I doubt any of you reading this blog post has yet created a professional assumption about that in-the-moment scenario.
Making the decision to take real-time action on professional assumptions allows you to build bridges across professional silos, outdated business and hiring models, and organizational cultures. One millimeter at a time. And that first millimeter step to be taken is yours.
Sometimes, the only person standing in the way of your cross functional success is you. And you are overdue to get out of your own way, first, so you get to where you really need to go! Together. One millimeter at a time.
Ready to take action! Then take these next steps.
Searching for a coaching catalyst to get you unstuck professionally? Looking for a meeting or event speaker focused on what is new and next? Then engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person.
Babette Ten Haken: Change Agent | Collaboration Catalyst | Complex Problem Solver | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Author |
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Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ programs catalyze people who solve problems differently to collaborate more successfully. Become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable as you create and implement innovative and robust business outcomes together. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of the ASQ, SHRM, PMI, the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.