Never assume people know what you know

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Dec 16

There is that whole “assume” thing out there.

The problem is we assume we don’t know much in our work that would be useful to others. Yet, as we do our work and complete projects, we learn. Over time, that learning adds up to becoming an expert in your particular work area.

Yet, what we know we assume other people know. But, they don’t.

I’ve been working on the career stuff for so long and it is so second-nature to me that I often assume people know what I know.

I was in this meeting with my team and manager in my last gig. The discussion was about Gen Y and the specific issues working with them. Now, I’m no expert in Gen Y, but I’ve done enough reading on the subject because of my career focus to know that there is a different set of expectations from the Gen Y generation coming into the work force. Just like every generation.

Yet, in the meeting, my manager expressed some frustration — what was so different about these people that we need to think through this?

And I popped off five reasons right off the top of my head. Just like that. You could have heard a pin drop in the room. Six people staring at me with a “where did you come up with that?” sort of look.

I just thought everyone knew that Gen Y has different perspectives on work. Managers and team members need to be aware of those perspectives. But they didn’t know.

Don’t assume people know what you know. Sitting quietly in a meeting or a one-on-one and letting what you know pass everyone by means you will miss opportunities.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.