Magazine article Black Enterprise

Assume Nothing

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Assume Nothing

Article excerpt

BUDGETS ARE TIGHT, JOBS ARE scarce, and unfortunately many employees are holding their breath, hoping their companies will be able to sustain their jobs. But according to Robert B. Tucker, president of The Innovation Resource Consulting Group in Santa Barbara, California, it's every worker's individual responsibility to prove their value in a company. His latest book, Innovation is Everybody's Business: How to Make Yourself Indispensable in Today's Hypercompetitive World (Wiley; $21.95), gives broad advice on how professionals can drive change in their organizations by altering their mindset and behavior. Here he elaborates on the importance of dispelling organizational and personal assumptions.

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What assumptions do you find most employees focus on?

There are two assumptions that seem to halt innovation in its tracks more than others: "This is how it's always been done, so this is how we'll continue doing it." This organizational assumption is one of the biggest obstacles faced by employees. [The other is] "I'm not capable of innovating." The belief that innovation is reserved for an elite group of super-geniuses.

How does holding onto assumptions prevent employees from being innovative?

Innovation begins where assumptions end. Our assumptions are just preconceived notions about how certain things should be done. They become rooted in our practices based on our personal experience or the organization's. Going with assumptions is comfortable, but it also means there will not be any new growth. …

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