Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How seriously assumption can impact your life, career and business

Reading a nice HBS paper, "The Real Reason People Won't Change",The Real Reason People Won't Change", for my last Negotiation class with Prof. Landry. It's about the psychologic reason why people are not making changes that they committed to. I found out it's very interesting to read it would apply to any startup/entrepreneur very well. The article said:



But competing commitments should not be seen as

weaknesses. They represent some version of self-protection,

a perfectly natural and reasonable human impulse.

The question is, if competing commitments are a form of

self-protection, what are people protecting themselves

from? The answers usually lie in what we call their big

assumptions - deeply rooted beliefs about themselves and

the world around them. These assumptions put an order

to the world and at the same time suggest ways in which

the world can go out of order. Competing commitments

arise from these assumptions, driving behaviors unwittingly

designed to keep the picture intact.

People rarely realize they hold big assumptions because,

quite simply, they accept them as reality. Often formed long

ago and seldom, if ever, critically examined, big assumptions

are woven into the very fabric of people's existence.


And that's why many times people are passing great opportunities for a startup. Because they accept the reality without thinking the possibility to chance it and the potential outcome that change may bring. Actually, this is also why people call successful startup "disruptive". It's not that disruptive in terms of business/service but disruptive because it changed many people's assumption: oh, I have to pay for expensive telephone service to make international phone call. Then with Skype, you do not.


This has the same meaning but just in a different way to explain my belief of "take nothing for granted". If you don't think this way, you may never be able to start a company.

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