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The CEO Challenge for March 2010
You know the saying about assumptions.
Why are you still making them?
Assumption testing has always been important in organizations. Right now, however, it’s more
critical than ever. Markets are evolving so fast that the wrong assumptions can be fatal.
Worse yet, an organization’s inability to routinely identify and test assumptions is a cultural defect
that can be very difficult to correct.
Rick and I often see this problem when we participate in leadership meetings held by our clients.
During these meetings, we frequently hear executives mistakenly state assumptions as if they
were facts. Here are a few assumptions we hear regularly:
• This slowdown is temporary; things will be back to normal soon
• This customer loves us, so this deal is safe
• Our clients want X
• No one else can beat us at X
• We have to lower our prices
• We have to invest in X
• We can’t afford to do X
• We tried X before and it didn’t work
Each and every one of these statements is an assumption. And yet we rarely hear anyone
challenge these assumptions. Why not?
The CEO Challenge for March 2010 – page 2 of 6
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ARE WE JUST TOO NICE?
It’s understandable that colleagues sometimes fail to challenge e