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Assumed Communication is not Communication

You’re leading a team, you provide some direction, you let them head off to execute, and then you come back.

Instead of the result you expected you have something completely different.  No where near the goal, team members bickering, a complete cluster you know what.  So what happened?

We all assume we have provided clear direction but let’s be honest, we did not.  Often we are moving too fast;  we don’t check in to see if the team understood our direction and so we get what we get.

Why didn’t they ask questions we ask?  It’s because since we began in school dumb questions were ridiculed.  Much as we love to say “there is no such thing as a dumb question” many don’t treat it that way.  So what we have is a culture that fears the dumb question.  Who would rather not speak up.

The old Chinese proverb is (to paraphrase)  better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt”.

Now I will be the first to say that this is a B.S. way to learn, i.e. be afraid to ask questions, but it is there.

So when you communicate to your team understand this bias.  Don’t assume that you have communicated effectively.  Make sure YOU ask the questions.  “Does this make sense to you?  “What is the final product you would envision from my directions?” etc.

When you lead you accept responsibility for all outcomes both internal and external to your team.  So don’t assume anything.

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