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you told people that you could read their minds, they would laugh at you.
After all, we know that this remarkable skill exists only in the movies. And
yet I'll bet that you work with people who believe that you (and others) can
magically know secrets that are critical for your success.
a result, you get set up for failure, which makes you look bad, wastes your
time, and costs you money.
the following story that happened to me in 1988 when I was working for a
finishing a special two-year staff assignment, I was assigned to
coordinating the development of proprietary software for computer
workstations. This seemed like a good idea because I had demonstrated
outstanding coordination and communication skills during my staff
assignment. I also showed a talent for working with computers.
there were two flaws in this plan.
I had no experience working with workstations. True, I had been the first to
put the department budget on a PC spreadsheet, and I had written some
software for the Apple II computer, but that was it.
Management neglected to explain to anyone how my new assignment fit in with
the current effort. Most importantly, they neglected to tell the man who was
coordinating all aspects of the workstation program.
began my new assignment with all the enthusiasm of someone going on a
picnic, not knowing that a major thunderstorm was in the forecast. Clouds
appeared when I met with people who were working on the workstation project
to talk about how I could help them. They all told me that they didn't want
lightening struck when the man who was in charge of the project invited me
and my boss to meet with him to talk about how we could work together.
Instead, he used the meeting to embarrass me by asking dozens of questions
about complex technical issues - all designed to show that I was unqualified
for the assignment.
I found myself stuck in a downpour with a dead assignment.
could have been done to prevent this?
I could have refused to work on this assignment.
I could have quit.
Management could have prepared everyone for my new role. They could have
talked to the current project coordinator and assured him that his job was
safe. They could have facilitated conversations that defined how I would
help the current project coordinator. They could have sent me to training
programs on workstation technology. In general, they could have set up this
career move for success.
it was a career disaster. I floundered for almost a year until I invented a
new role for myself.
how about you? Do you know the requirements of your current assignment? Has
your management prepared others to work with you? Have you been given the
training that you need to perform an outstanding job?
how about your staff? Have you taken the time to tell them how their work
contributes to the organization? Have you told them what they need to do to
meet your expectations? Have you arranged for support, training, and
Every career transition demands extensive communication. If you are
responsible for promotions, transfers, or any type of organizational change,
then it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone fully understands
every aspect of how this affects their work. In addition, you are
responsible for arranging agreements, alliances, mentors, partnerships, and
training to ensure that everyone maximizes their productivity during the
leaders work to create success for others, because that results in success
for the organization.