Use the 80-20 Rule

Know the facts. It will save you time in the long run. As soon as someone else questions your accuracy, things are going to slow down. You will be sent back to do your homework and your thoroughness will be in question.

Don’t assume. As far as is possible go right to the source and get your information. Then take the time to review that information well before presenting it.

Effective people are respected because they have good information at their fingertips. If they don’t have it, they are given grace because they know where to find it fast. Those who are perceived as guessing and assuming don’t garner many points on credibility and reliability.

“I think it’s fairly true that most people aren’t that interested in recognizing the truth and orienting 100 percent around it. To do so could be fairly disruptive to the status quo and even to how the person is getting their needs met.”

Thomas Leonard, The Portable Coach

Five Days of Action

Assumptions have scuttled a lot of potential relationships, deals and collaborations. Take time today to reflect on the times you assumed or guessed and it didn’t turn out well. Determine today that as far as possible you will seek to get the facts, not the assumptions, before taking any kind of action. It’s not always possible. But when it is, do it.

Get the facts in preparation for your next meeting. Do you have good, reliable information for the part you may play in that meeting?

How well do you access factual information? Do you know where to get it? Are your sources accurate? Obviously the more objective the matter under consideration, the greater the need for accuracy. Take time today to make an analysis of your sources of information. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but it should satisfy you that you have good sources for the things that matter.

Work with your key staff today around building credibility and reliability through the use of accurate information. Are there any entrenched system-wide problem areas that need to be addressed?

Try to notice the assumptions you make today. There may be a lot of them. Is there further action you need to take to deal with this? Watch particularly for assumptions in the area of interpersonal communication and relationships. Choose to stop assuming.