After yesterday’s events, I thought I would share some good advice for home and work on how to make relationships better. It involves simple language and clear expectations for almost any endeavor, whether its picking up items at the grocery store or completing a major task at work.
- What exactly is expected of me and when do you want it – no open-ended answers allowed.
- What is my measure of success? Picking up everything on the grocery list? Clean the house is not good enough – too much wiggle room – what exactly do you want cleaned and to what measure?
- When buying something – or delivering a project – what is most important? Quality, speed, or cost – you usually can’t have all three.
- What resources do I have to complete the task? Don’t ask me to do laundry without detergent– that is setting me up for failure. Ensure those you are tasking have the tools to complete the task – including the skills to do the task. Don’t ask a fish to climb a tree and then ask the cat to swim.
- Last, ask the person to give you their plan to complete the task, if it doesn’t sound like they got it, try again.
You can’t hold someone accountable for poor results if you have given them poor instructions. Failing to pin down the specifics, results, deadlines, resources, and skill only lead to conflict and task failure. A clear recipe for failure is vague instructions, squishy deadlines, no idea of what success looks like, and failing to adequately resource or train for a task.
Ready, fire, aim – this is one of my favorite sayings from my years in the military and an apt description of someone who fails to plan. Don’t be that person. You owe it to your loved ones and colleagues to be someone who gives clear and great expectations.