What are the assumptions that drive your organization?  Do you know?  I’ve written about this recently.  The trigger was Andy Stanley’s Drive talk, Random Thoughts on Leadership and the work that North Point is doing to revisit their assumptions.  I know Andy is a reader and suspect that part of his talk and the motive to revisit assumptions is based on the Harvard Business Review article When Growth Stalls by Matthew S. Olson, Derek van Bever, and Seth Verry.

One of the most helpful ideas in the article is the concept of an assumption hunt.  Based on a finding that “Assumptions held the longest or the most deeply are the most likely to be its undoing,” the authors propose a hunt designed to identify existing assumptions.  Further, they suggest that Gary Hamel and the team at Strategos have been doing some of the best work on helping organizations discover underlying assumptions.

The Future of Management

In late 2007 I wrote about The Future of Management.  Pulled it out yesterday and it’s a pretty marked up volume…always a sign of a good read.  Looking at it I realized that I had gotten busy and set it down halfway through.  Picking up where I left off yesterday I found a great chapter on the idea of an assumption hunt!  Very detailed.  Very helpful.  Exactly in line with the comments made by Stanley is his talk.

Detailing a plan for “escaping the shackles,” Hamel writes that to “get started, you’re going to have to cross swords with innovation’s deadliest foe: the often unarticulated and mostly unexamined beliefs that tether you and your colleagues to the management status quo.  All of us are held hostage by our axiomatic beliefs.  We are jailbirds incarcerated within the fortress of dogma and precedent.  And yet, for the most part, we are oblivious to our own captivity (p. 126).”

In the next few days I’ll be looking at some of Hamel’s ideas from this chapter.  Right in line with some important work that many of us need to do.  Want to come along?  Here’s a link to The Future of Management

Ready To Go On An Assumption Hunt?