I was talking with a manager this week who was dreading doing his required annual reviews.
After describing his relationship with each of his people, he went on to tell me what he needed to say and how each would respond.
I asked why he was so sure and he said “because they always respond that way.”
Remind you of your own situations?
How many times have you had a conversation with a manager, peer or subordinate and walked away shaking your head thinking, “I knew I’d get that response.”
I know I have.
But did they respond to the content or the presentation?
I call it AMS syndrome and it infects all of us at various times.
AMS stands for assumption, manipulation, self-fulfilling prophesy and I first wrote about it shortly after starting this blog five years ago.
I wrote about AMS and its effect on managing a diverse workforce a few months later.
A couple of years later I again focused on how assumptions can actually undermine an entire company’s product direction without every being recognized.
No one indulges in AMS intentionally; it’s purely subconscious. It’s driven by experience, not just our own, but friends, stuff we’ve read, movies, TV, etc.
Anything that seeds our thinking with expectations, whether specific or vague; those expectations convert into active assumptions, which causes us to present out content in ways that elicit the exact result we thought we would get, i.e., self-fulfilling prophesy.
This is the conversation I had with my client as well as emailing him the links I’ve included above.
I got this email from him today, “I’ll be damned, you were right. Reviews went great. Thanks!”
Image credit: Warning Sign Generator