check assumptions
“Instead of assuming you know your team, keep asking about what’s going on in their lives, as well as their goals and dreams and how those might have evolved since the last time you touched base.”— Misti Burmeister

It has been said that change is life’s only constant. This is true for businesses, people, and pretty much every aspect of life. Just when we think we really know something (or someone), it changes. That’s why it’s important to check our assumptions about people at the door.

Case in point: For more than 10 years, I’ve been seeing Dr. London, one of the very best chiropractors I’ve ever met. Thanks to him, I have become accustomed to a high level of care.

When I go into his office, Dr. London has me stand and march in place with my eyes closed – allowing him to clearly observe my posture. This way, he can see if my hip is a little off on the right side, if my head is shifted forward, or if any other part of my body is out of alignment, and then use that information to decide on the best possible adjustments.

Dr. London almost always manages to get my body back into proper position, and I end up feeling better.

Several months ago, he hired another chiropractor, Thomas. The first few times Thomas adjusted me, he did the same thing Dr. London has always done, adding a few moves of his own. He got great results too.

Then, on my fourth or fifth visit, Thomas stopped observing my posture and simply did the adjustments I liked from previous visits. He spent less time analyzing my posture and more time yakking it up. He’s a nice guy, and I enjoy chatting with him, but I don’t drive an hour one way for conversation.

Now, before I go to his office, I text Dr. London to ensure he will be available to adjust me. Dr. London gets results because he takes time to test my posture every single time. Even though he’s been seeing me for a decade, he knows things can change. So rather than make assumptions, he starts from scratch.

What would happen if every leader took time to check in with their teams from a fresh perspective, to allow new behaviors to show up, and to be sure they truly know the people working for them, even as those employees grow and change?

Instead of assuming you know your team, keep asking about what’s going on in their lives, as well as their goals and dreams and how those might have evolved since the last time you touched base. When you do, you’ll grow together, and you’ll most certainly get results.

Join the Conversation: What assumptions are you making about the people on your team? How can you check in with them more regularly to ensure you really know them?

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.

Misti on Google+