Weekly Thought – October 23, 2018
Fred’s objectivity allowed him to live without unrealistic expectations. His desire to continually “keep current” on his facts, his relationships, and his environment gave him a healthy advantage. He refused to live as a member of the “used-ta club.” He consistently checked to make sure he was up to date.
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I walked into the office of a long-time client. We worked together for many years on various projects with great success and deepening relationship. He was also one of my favorite people. The productive work outcomes would suggest we perfectly understood each other’s goals, wouldn’t it? Let me tell you about an interesting experiment and see how you can apply it to your situation.
“Good morning, Sam,” I said, reaching across his desk for two pieces of paper from his legal pad. I handed him one and kept the other for myself. “Write down on the paper the most significant contribution you want me to make to your organization. I will write down on my paper the most significant contribution I am trying to make.”
A word of caution – you have to have a time-tested relationship with a client to do this. But isn’t it a good exercise?
Do you know what happened when we turned the pages face up? The answers were diametrically opposed! The thing I thought was the most important thing for me to do for him was nearly opposite what he wanted me to do, What he was expecting (and paying me to do) wasn’t part of my plan at all.
He was a long time client, as well as a friend, yet we were operating with polar expectations. Think about your clients, family members, friends, associates, church and community committee members. Consider how little you may know some of them, yet assume you know their expectations.
How often do we go full steam ahead sure we are “on the same page?” Consider the outcome of these times when we get down the road only to find out we were operating from different assumptions and desired outcomes.
What is Sam and I had continued to operate with unspoken, but opposing expectations? The consulting relationship and possibly the friendship would have suffered. Clarity, not assumption, is the rule.
Think carefully about: 1) What do I use to clarify assumptions in my work and in my family? 2) How can I identify with Fred’s example? 3) How often do I sit down with my family to make sure we are clear?
Words of Wisdom: “Clarity, not assumption, is the rule.”
Wisdom from the Word: “You must inscribe on the stones all the words of this law, making them clear.” (Deuteronomy 27:8 NET Bible)