Organizations decide things based on assumptions about the future held by their leaders, decisionmakers, and the people who counsel those leaders. If those people haven’t thought much about the future, and don’t have clear futures assumptions, their organization will probably just be following what others do, or reacting to what’s right in front of it. That is not how to run an organization, and it’s not how to face change, prepared.
People hold certain assumptions about the future and the substance of those assumptions, their rationales, and how they are communicated, are critical to an organization. The clarity and quality of decisions depend on well-considered assumptions, and yet those assumptions are too rarely brought to the surface for debate and discussion.
In fact, each of us is capable of not even being clear in our own mind in our assumptions about the future.
What can you do to get assumptions out in the open? A simple and effective tool is to ask people to complete a statement: In the year 20xx, I believe that _________________. Then a team can discuss what they think, probe a little deeper, and drive to a consensus, agree to dig a little deeper, or agree that they disagree. In any case, you can move forward a little clearer on what everyone thinks.