Question Your Assumptions

By | March 13, 2018

[March 13, 2018]  Like many “older” college students returning to school, there was a small group of us who were going back from the Army.  As enlisted members of the U.S. military, we had been selected to complete a college degree toward commissioning as officers.  But each of us had made crucial errors in our assumptions about the requirements for graduation.

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” – Henry Winkler, American actor, comedian, director, and producer

We were in a new Department of Defense program designed to improve leadership in the ranks of each military service and retain troops that showed promise as future leaders.  Being a new program, each step was not always spelt out in black and white.  My small group learned a valuable lesson that first year as we failed to properly navigate the bureaucracies of both our colleges and our military administrations.

Leaders don’t accept ideas without first thinking about them and trying to ferret out the thoughts that are underneath.  Developing the skill set that allows a leader to look at things that most folks take for granted is both difficult and a long-term method to better leadership.  Doing this takes creative and studied thinking.

I remember clearly our group talking about the problems we had encountered at college.  One of my friends said that our failure to catch several assumptions that turned out wrong and delayed our graduation was the “mother of all screw-ups.”

He wasn’t very original in his assessment but it taught us a lesson that we would have for the rest of our careers in the military; question your assumptions or the price might just be more than you’re willing to pay.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

11 thoughts on “Question Your Assumptions

  1. Janna Faulkner

    We all make this mistake but when leaders do it, big problems are on the horizon.

  2. Anita

    Hi everyone. I’m new to this site. Love it. I’m interested in being a better person and the best leader I can be. I manage a small team in finance that always seems to do a good job. But that’s all “just a good job” and not a great job. That’s why I’m reading theleadermaker.com … as another way to makes improvements in myself.

    1. Doug Satterfield

      Welcome Anita. Always good to have new folks on.

  3. Joey Holmes

    I just was thinking that this how we think about most. Ha, “better to be a Dag than a Dill.” Better nerd than a fool. Cheers!

  4. Yusaf from Texas

    I can only speak to those who work in my IT field but we work hard to insure we make NO assumptions in what we do. Otherwise our jobs would be a terror. Assumptions make an ass out of u and me.

  5. Army Captain

    We do this all the time … make assumptions that turn out (in most cases) correct but sometimes (unpredictably) wrong. Being wrong is the problem!

    1. William L. Anthony

      Hey, Army Captain … how did you get the flag to show on your posts?

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