Communicate Better, Sell More
PM: With this reframing, it seems like you focus a lot on the depth of what it actually means, on the false assumptions and communication misunderstandings it calls attention to. Would you say that false assumptions are one of the bigger communication mistakes you see people make?
RTS: I heard this yesterday, I was doing a phone interview with a different industry, and and the whole gist of what he was speaking about is that he wanted to blame the whole demise of his business on one factor, which was china and overseas. Well that is a factor, but it's not the only factor.
What people want to do is they make assumptions and they use data that based on nothing. I have this chapter in the book called the "5 why's model," and what I do is say, "Okay John, why is it that that is the factor of your business?" "Well because everything is going to China." "Why is everything going to China?" "Well because we started 15 years ago and..." By asking five whys, I really get to the root cause, which is, "Well we should have diversified 10 years ago and got into some other product lines and we didn't do it." There you really get to what's driving the assumption. Not, "I'm upset about of something going overseas."
You really want to get on the same page as somebody? You really want to understand the truth of the worldview they have, really know where they're coming from and why they believe what they believe, 5 why questions in a row will generally get you to the root cause. Because a lot of people just spout stuff off and they're not even sure why they believe it, that's just what they think. Whether it's right or wrong, they've never even thought through it enough to understand. That chapter of the book really addresses that specific question of those assumptions.