When I look at all 40 of our fundamentals, if I had to make a list of three or four that are more difficult for me and that I need to improve on personally, I believe getting clear on expectations would be in that group. I say this for a couple reasons. Sometimes in my excitement for our business, I make the incorrect assumption that what I understand in my mind and what I try to communicate is clearly understood by all others. I need to do a better job of creating clarity so there are not misunderstandings, especially as it relates to the objectives and expectations. Everybody perceives the world a little differently and sees and hears things in slightly different ways. We are all inherently different in how we think about, process, and interpret information. Therefore, it’s important to step back, slow down, and confirm through crystal clear communication that both parties are on the same page. When this communication occurs, it must be a two-way street. It can’t just be a manager telling one of their direct reports what to do. There must be a respectful conversation that clearly spells out exactly what the expectations or timelines or action items are for a specific project or commitment.
SLOW DOWN TO SPEED UP
As an example, one of our objectives is to insure that our express will call is set up and running efficiently and effectively in every location. We must accomplish this task, so that our customers can get in and get out quickly with the products they need. This gets them to their job sites more quickly, which means saving time and money. This increases our profitability and theirs as well. So if we put a project team together to implement this initiative, and a manager just said to his or her direct reports that we need to set up our express will call, and there was no two-way dialogue with specific planning, objectives, timelines, and clarity from the start about what we are trying to achieve by when, and specifically how, the end result of this initiative could be more time consuming, costly, and not even meet our customers’ expectations.
I challenge you as individuals and teams to step back from our day-to-day fast pace and get clear on the expectations before we react to an issue, take advantage of an opportunity, or embark on an important project. This will allow everyone the opportunity to be crystal clear on the expectations.