The Unwritten Code of Assumptions

August 5, 2011 in Entrepreneurship, General by Tania Saba Mazraani

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote on this blog. I am usually inspired into writing when I go through an experience I feel compelled to share with the crowd.

Often times, members of your company or organization turn out to be the worst advocates of your brand!


And how did I notice that? I was recently contacting and calling a number of local institutions (that I shall not name) for a certain business, some of which run 6 figures advertising campaign throughout the year, yet I had to go through a slew of inefficient, arrogant or rude executives, starting from the switchboard operator all the way up to managerial levels.

I noticed most of corporate Lebanon functions following an unwritten code of assumptions, that surely speaks bundles and alas negatively about the person as a professional and the organization as a culture.

Assumption # 1: if you don’t have a team of 3 assistants making phone calls on your behalf, then you must be “shit” and therefore should be treated as such.

Assumption # 2: People will not respect you if you just introduce yourself and your organization’s name; you must throw in a pompous title to garner any attention or a minimal amount of feedback.

Assumption # 3: If the company in question is making extensive advertising around a highly noble slogan such as “We’re here to help”, it does not necessarily mean that the office manager who just answered your call knows about it, or feels at all concerned by it.

Assumption #4: Calling, respectfully leaving your name, number and purpose of your call will not mean that your correspondent will eventually call you back. You will have to call again and again, and make it through a barrage of 2 switchboard operators, 3 secretaries and 2 personal assistants, until you eventually and luckily connect with him/her.

Assumption #5: Once you have made it through assumption #4, don’t think that by having your correspondent on the line, you’ve made it already. He/she will adopt a busy distant tone, invoke amnesia of any business dealings or messages you had left them before (remember, they’re to busy to remember what this was all about) and make you go through the pain of explaining things all over again.

Assumption #6: People may have emails, but they’re not meant to be used by mere mortal such as you. Most recently, I was literally refused access to the email address of a department manager from a partner organization. What was she afraid of? That her spam filter might not work? Or that she will be sent an electronic parcel bomb?

I will stop with the assumptions. I think you’ve got the picture.

If there’s one more thing I want to say, it’s this:

Communication starts from within. Institutions need to communicate their values to their teams and make sure they are cascading all throughout the organization.

Leading by example is a great teaching tool to peer and subordinates, especially if you as a leader are expressing, through your demeanor at work, basic human values such as respect, humility and kindness.