Make it easy for the other person to deliver by defining it specifically - this is an anecdote I found in my notebook. It looks like I was attending a talk and took note of it.
Sometimes you ask people to help you or you complain that they are not helping you enough. The question is – what kind of help do you need? What does enough mean? Clarifying your expectation to the other party is key.
A team of consultants went to the field with one of the clients tagging along in the same car. The consultants ‘knew’ that they would be leaving the following morning after their engagement. The client ‘knew’ that they would be in the field all day and therefore ordered for lunch to be prepared.
On the last day, at around 11:30am, the consultants were done with their assignment and gearing to go. The client seemed to be taking his time. As it was approaching mid-day, one of the consultants approached the client and asked “Can we please go since we are done and have been waiting in the car?”
The client looked a bit surprised “Oh am still finishing a few things here, lunch is being prepared and I had programmed myself with the assumption that we are leaving at the end of the day”.
Intense conversations followed and luckily the situation was resolved amicably. Lesson? Whereas both the client and consultants were clear in their minds what time to leave, they received the brief from different parties. They both didn’t bother to double check with one another. To synchronize expectations.
Remember to define exactly your expectations and also double check to ensure that you are on the same page.