Green Beans and Communications Failure
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Saturday was our youngest grandson's second birthday party. My job, during the short drive to the party, was to hold the green bean dish that would be popped into the oven at our daughter's house. All went well until we were within a couple of blocks.
Out of sight, beneath the tin foil, lurked a lot of liquid. A hard right turn sent it and a few beans flowing over the side of the dish and on to my clean khakis. I learned instantly that green beans are not a fashion accessory.
Why didn't my wife warn me about the liquid? She thought I knew it was there. After all, we've had this dish many times.
Why didn't I ask? I didn't think there was anything to ask about. Perhaps next time I'll ask, "Does danger lurk in this dish?"
I've just described why many communications failures happen. Neither party thinks there's a need to communicate something that later turns out to be either important or messy.
After decades in business and life, I can assure you that you will never be able to think of all the times you should give a warning or ask a question. Not only that, if you try to cover all the bases all the time you will become that pain that everyone wants to avoid.
The key to handling these inevitable communications breakdowns is to realize that they will happen and that the important thing is what you do next. Usually anything that involves a raised voice, a pointed finger, or an accusation is a poor choice.
Boss's Bottom Line
Communication breakdowns will happen. Usually no one will be negligent or malicious and the best thing to do is just get on with things.
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