Beware of Default Behavior

My definition of “default behavior” is: doing what 90% of the world’s population does, when faced with a new or unfamiliar situation.  Panic and give up.  Let me explain.

The “average guy on the street” almost always acts the same way when faced with something new or unfamiliar.  He throws up his hands and asks for help.  No thought.  No research.  Just give up and ask for someone else to do it for him.  “Tell me how to do it.”

If you expect to manage projects or people, you must learn how to think independently.  And learn how to handle unfamiliar situations without exhibiting “default behavior.”  Here are some examples:

You are asked to download a program:

Default behavior: “What’s the URL again?”

Better: Google the name or look it up in your list of products.


You are asked to reconfigure all the users in a certain program:

Default behavior: Call tech support and ask how

Better: Explore the program and learn it


Your project is over-budget and stalled:

Default behavior: Ask for more money, time, and resources

Better: Huddle up and cut secondary priorities


You may not suffer from these exact scenarios, but the general advice is sound.  Learn to recognize your responses to unfamiliar and stressful situations, and improve them beyond the default behavior.  Career advancement depends upon it!


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