Posted by Sarah Brown on 26 Nov '20
Why assumptions can be fatal
You don't know what you don't know, so ask.
Ask people who might know or should know, because not asking has cost lives.
Last night I was catching up on my TV and watched the BBC 2 programme Lockdown 1.0. Following the Science. I ended the programme with tears pouring down my face. 20,000 vulnerable old people died in care homes partly because the 'modelers' didn't allow for agency staff moving between homes. The people building the forecasting models didn't know about them, they didn't check their assumptions, they didn't ask. I think what made me cry is they couldn't explain why. Parents, husbands and wives, people who deserved better died needlessly.
Throughout the programme, it was clear that people who knew the answers had not been asked or had been ignored. It was a crisis, a life and death situation, did they panic? Was it ego or stupidity or just that under pressure they didn't think clearly?
Whatever it was they didn't ask, they didn't find out, and things went wrong, people died.
Under stress, we can all become very short-sighted and inward-looking, and that is when we can act fatally.
If you are currently feeling like there are no options, it may be because you are also stressed and making false assumptions.
Pull back and think, challenge your assumptions. Don't risk your organisation or business life because you didn't understand the whole picture, all the risks, all the opportunities!
No one even knew that an expert in Coronavirus was sitting in Bristol waiting for a call.
If you are making big decisions, these may help: