Our days are filled with myriad tasks, issues, and surprises. In our quest to keep up and our desire to get ahead, we take shortcuts. Looking for shortcuts is a great mental exercise. We examine a situation, think critically and creatively, and find a better way. Shortcuts save us lots of time and energy. Except when they don’t.
One area where shortcuts are apt to do more harm than good is in communications. Rushing through the exchange of ideas and plans can lead to misunderstandings. We think we’re on the same page when we’re not. Or, we’ve simply not thought things through. We understand where we’re at and we agree upon where we want to go. Then, we break off and charge ahead in the name of efficiency and expediency. But we missed some things. Like discussing the list of things that will get us from the beginning to the end. Heck, we probably didn’t even fully articulate that list before charging off.
Talking things through, even the seemingly obvious and mundane, has tremendous value. It’s our best opportunity to work collaboratively on the details of our plan. To itemize, review, and revise our plan. To give shape to its overall strategy and approach. To confirm our shared understanding and to fill in the gaps. Skip this step at your own peril.
Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives