Basketball or The Simpsons? This is the story of how a Sunday night tradition was born.
Back in the early 90s, I spent much of my time at a local watering hole in Toronto. The place was like a second home to my friends and me. It was like Cheers, except the patrons made up a wide range of wonderful misfits (way cooler people than Cliff and Norm).
One Sunday night the two televisions were switched to a basketball game. I was with my friends and we were discussing The Simpsons. We were all big fans of the show. Suddenly, I glanced at the clock and realized it was nearly 8:00, our favorite animated series was about to come on.
I asked the bartender if he would switch the channel from the mindless dribbling that nobody seemed to be watching to our choice. He shrugged his shoulders and said everyone was watching the game. I suggested they weren't. He replied that I would have to ask each person in the bar if it was okay to switch it to The Simpsons - and so I called his bluff.
It was unanimous, nobody cared for basketball (it was way before the Raptors were killing it). The entire bar was filled with fans of Homer, his family, and his friends. The bartender had no other choice but to comply. He switched the channels and a tradition was born. We would meet at the bar every Sunday night in the weeks, months, and years after.
Never assume consensus.
Twenty-five seasons later, the longest-running animated series continues to entertain millions of people, including those sharing pints and laughs at my favorite Toronto watering hole every Sunday night.
Had I not questioned the assumed consensus a tradition may never have been born. The same can be said in the workplace and among your friends and family. Don't think it has to be a certain way because it seems so. Never assume consensus.