The US has become a nation of assumptions.  Try counting the number of assumptions you will hear on any given day.  For a systems thinker there can be no moment when we can let our guard down and this isn’t easy.

The barrage of assumptions that accompany business and government is overwhelming.  Many organizations build and perpetuate their business based on assumptions.  This thinking is no more than a form of copying.

The companies that seem to display the most innovation leadership are those that blaze new trails.  Yet, they are so few.  And innovation doesn’t have to be new products or services, but just doing things differently in routine actions can be innovative.

Command and control management focused on costs misses innovation opportunities as they search for short-cuts.  Copying they believe speeds things up at less cost.  I have rarely found this to be the case.  The management paradox is copying increases costs.

So, what are the biggest assumptions that are killing business and government?  Let’s look at a list of assumptions that are most copied.

  1. Focus on costs and budgets.
  2. Measures
  3. Targets and Incentives.
  4. Technology and automation.
  5. Front Office/Back Office work design.
  6. Improvement tools (lean, TQM, etc.)
  7. Best practices, benchmarking, scripts, and standardization.

I have written about the problems with these in the past, but felt it important to put these in a series.  I will delve in to some of the history (when appropriate) and ideas for better thinking in organizations interested in a better way.

As I write to each of the assumptions, I will come back to this introductory post and link to the appropriate assumption post.

Are there any assumptions that I have missed?

Leave me a comment. . . share your opinion!  Click on comments below.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to government and service industry.  His organization helps service executives find a better way to make the work work.  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at