- State it.
- Share it with your team.
- Decide how to act on it.
After all, you can’t be held accountable for information you don’t know.I define a “known” as a piece of relevant information that adds significant understanding to a situation. When you are working with a known, you can take action based on that information. And when you can take action, you can be accountable. For example, a fact would be, “Susie hasn’t taken a vacation in 8 months.” To turn that into a known, you might say, “Susie hasn’t taken a vacation in 8 months, but I just learned she won a vacation to Jamaica! How can we help her take time off to go?” A list of knowns related to a given situation doesn’t have to be exhaustive. Most often, even a complex issue can be adequately described in a handful of knowns stated in these areas:
- description of the group or team involved
- written agreements (such as contracts or relevant portions of a law)
- historical occasions (such as a founding or merger date)
- significant upcoming events (such as opening a new facility or laws that are about to change)
- commonly-held assumptions or cultural beliefs (such as, “since 2012, we have worked half days on Fridays in the summer”)
- differences of opinion (such as “we don’t all agree the upcoming merger is in the best interests of our company”)
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