I teach a negotiation course at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in the M.B.A. program. If you’re in my course then you’re probably in the Evening Program. (I do teach some classes in the full-time day program. The students are a little younger and a little bit less experienced than the Evening Program students – but very, very sharp nonetheless.) If you’re in the Evening Program you’re in your late 20’s to early 30’s in age. You have a full time job and you’re getting your M.B.A. at night. You may have small children. What this means is that you’re an extremely capable mid-level executive who is a rising star. Pretty cool people and fun to teach.
Everyone pretty much knows the old saying about assumptions making a you know what out of both you and your counterpart. While personally I am not much of a fan of this old cliché, I have to admit I do agree somewhat with the logic behind it. The real problem with assumptions is that they lead to some sort of movement or action that ends up having a very negative affect on a given situation.
It was 1994. I had just been selected to the rank of detective. In my mind, to coin a Richard Pryor line, I had finally reached the top. I was now a suit; a gold shield. It was, at the time, all I wanted to do in law enforcement. Excited is an understatement. I bought new suits. I showed up 90 minutes earlier than my report time on the first day. I was ready to go.