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Mental Telepathy 
on the Job

by Steve Kaye


Remember, leaders work to create success for others, because that results in success for the organization.

If 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.

As a result, you get set up for failure, which makes you look bad, wastes your time, and costs you money.

Consider the following story that happened to me in 1988 when I was working for a major corporation.

After 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.

Unfortunately, there were two flaws in this plan.

1) 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.

2) 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.

I 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 my help.

Then, 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.

So, I found myself stuck in a downpour with a dead assignment.

What could have been done to prevent this?

1) I could have refused to work on this assignment.

2) I could have quit.

3) 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.

Instead, it was a career disaster. I floundered for almost a year until I invented a new role for myself.

So, 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?

And 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 performance monitoring?

Solution: 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 change.

Remember, leaders work to create success for others, because that results in success for the organization.

Steve Kaye PhotoSteve Kaye works with people who value learning as the key to excellent leadership and with companies that want to develop such leaders. Contact Steve at 888-421-1300  e-mail [email protected] or visit www.stevekaye.com. 

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