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Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

June 3, 2013

Brilliant Manoeuvre
Don't leave your people guessing. If you want them to do something or to attain a certain outcome, tell them and give them a milestone to achieve it.

I was in a discussion with a manager earlier this week. I asked if he had debriefed one of his sales people after the latter's return from a trade show. The manager said yes, but that he was waiting to see what he would do with a key piece of information. He wanted to see what would happen and if he would deal with it on his own. While this might be a good idea in some circumstances, I advised him to tell him what wants and when he wants it. In other words, "say what you mean, and mean what you say." There is already too much ambiguity and uncertainty to leave our people hanging without definite direction and expectations. We owe our people as much clarity as is reasonable in the circumstances.

What are your objectives for your team/organization? Have you communicated these clearly? Could your team and subordinates repeat them in their own words to demonstrate comprehension? Would they be able to continue with the mission if something went wrong in the original plan? Would they have the confidence and the means to do so?

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

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