We’ve all been on this phone call before: “What did you say? … I can’t hear you… Can you hear me now? … What?” This is the all too familiar phone call where one person can’t hear the other person on their cell phone. A funny thing starts to happen when this occurs as both parties on the phone call begin to assume it has to be a problem with the other person’s phone. You would never believe that the problem is on your side. The reality is, however, that it may be on both sides, on neither side, it may be a storm or other interference, or just bad phone service. There is a host of other problems that could be causing the bad connection, but we never think it’s on our side.
The same phenomenon or assumption can happen on projects. When something goes wrong it’s always easy to jump to the conclusion that it’s the other persons fault. This especially happens in technology companies when a date is missed, or a new technology doesn’t work, or a mistake is made. It’s easy to blame the other person, the other department, the other company, or the other team. Before you jump to conclusions, however, the challenge is to realize that sometimes it may just be your fault. The challenge is to rise above the assumptions that it is somebody else’s fault and consider these three things:
- Don’t pass judgment until you know the facts. This is especially important when it comes to technology, or integration, or implementation into other company’s systems. Until you know the facts, it could just as easily be your problem as the other company or person’s problem.
- Be open to the fact that there is a chance that it could be your problem. That chance can be as high as 50%. If you always keep this mindset you won’t jump to conclusions right out of the gate and perhaps make you look foolish in the process.
- Focus on the solution first, then prevention. It’s important to stay away from blame, especially as you are working through a problem. Now, part of the solution long-term may be getting rid of someone that continues to cause the problems, but initially you should focus on getting the problem fixed first.
So rather than jump to conclusions, gather all the facts, make a reasonable decision and do what you can to fix the problem.
What are some of the problems you’ve encountered because you, or other people, have jumped to the wrong conclusion?