Assumptions, the downfall of success.

“TV will never be a serious competitor for radio because people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn’t time for it.” – from a 1939 editorial in the New York Times.

Every day, leaders make decisions. Some flourish while other falter. Often we are caught within a hype of an idea, making ourselves believe it is a game-changer. In a perfect world, information is complete, and we all can make accurate decisions. However, we know that this is seldom the case. 

Regardless of the amount of information we gather. In the end, we use assumptions to guide our perceptions. Sometimes, we like to take the credit when we are correct, but the blame game kicks in when we can’t repeat it. So how does it happen that we still get it wrong, even with all the evidence and the best advisors?

Steve Ballmer assumed that the iPhone would never gain significant market traction. Well, Apple’s engineers based the design of the initial iPhone on several assumptions. However, they had a clear and well-articulated vision of where they wanted to go with the device. In addition, the Apple leaders provided a clear framework for the employees to challenge the status quo.  

Bottom line: Every action we take, every result we desire, starts with a decision. Leaders can take either a short or long-term view.