The Public Manager

The Problem With Assumption and the Power of Inquiry

Sometimes assumptions are helpful, but often they can prove unproductive—or even damaging. By acting on our assumptions as if they were true, we've constructed a reality that does not reflect what's happening in the moment.

We all make assumptions. That's not a bad thing, necessarily. Assumptions play a crucial role in everyday survival: they fill in gaps in what we think and perceive, and they help us make sense out of a complex world.

As managers, we get pretty good at this

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