We have all been in a situation where we need people to get on with things, get the job done, but for some reason it just never gets done the way we would like it to be done. Well how do we know people understand what we want them to do?
The point I am making is if we become in business very good at giving direction over areas that we are very experienced and familiar with, there is a natural tendency to believe that everyone within the team also understands the requirement of the task, however this is often not the case.
A lack of understanding can create friction and ultimately lead to confrontation and dysfunctional teams operating at a sub optimum level of performance. It is uncomfortable for individuals to admit they don’t understand or to ask for clarification.
The military have a saying “there are no stupid questions” – In the military it’s critical that everyone understands the plan and their part within that plan, that’s why they encourage questions at all levels.
Ask yourself when was the last time at an end of a meeting did you ask people questions about what you had agreed and what they were going to do next? However asking questions is not always enough.
The military use a very effective technique of “back briefing” this is a simple process where an individual is required to tell everyone what they are going to do next, it involves repeating there instructions and then describing what they will do to make that happen, this not only checks understanding but provides a sense of ownership. You are asking the individual what are they going to do with this information – how are they going to make it their plan?
Try it, at first it may seem a little strange but you will be suprised at the positive effects it has on getting the job done once people leave the boardroom
For more information on Marketing or Business Performance get in touch with Ivan Yardley