Speaking from Doing the Right Thing and Achieving All Your Goals at the Same Time
Doing the Right Thing is a book about people who work in offices, why we fight, and how we can stop fighting, solve our problems, and get back to work. All materials on this site Copyright © Marianne Powers 2002. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    Next

Doing the Right Thing and Achieving All Your Goals at the Same Time

Full Book Outline:

---People Are What They Are and It's Irrelevant Anyway
---We Don't Know What Other People Are Capable of Achieving
---People Are Not Accountable for Their Thoughts and Feelings
---We Don't Know What Other People are Thinking and Feeling
---People Are Accountable for Their Words and Actions
---Assume Everyone is Doing the Best They Can
---Assume Everyone Has a Good Reason for What They Say and Do

---Listen Very Carefully
---Welcome Information, Criticism is Information
---If You Have a Choice, Don't Choose to be Hurt
---Examine Your Motives
---Targeting Problems is Good, Targeting People is Evil
---If You Want Someone to Do Something for You, You Have to Be Completely on Their Side
---When People Don't Understand, Listen Better

---State Your Position Clearly and Ask for What You Want Specifically
---Tell Them Even If You Know They Won't Understand
---All You Can Do is Tell Them, You Can't Make Anyone Do Anything
---When People Don't Meet Your Expectations, Change Your Expectations
---Give Them 100 Tries to Get It Right
---If They Can't Get It Right in 100 Tries, There Must Be Something Wrong with the Procedure
---Teach Everyone to Do Everything

State Your Position Clearly and Ask for What You Want Specifically
You are the only one who knows where you stand and what you want. Well, hopefully you know. Thatís the first step. Even when you are working alone, but especially before you try to work with anyone else, you need to decide where you are and where you are going Ė every day is good. Looking at the situation truthfully and objectively, remember what your goals are and the goals of the groups you belong to. Evaluate whether you still think they are achievable and desirable. See if they are still compatible. Determine how far along you are in achieving them. Review what you need to do yourself and what you need help with, what kind of help, and from whom.

Now you know who you need to talk to (if anyone). Sometimes, you need to talk to the boss or the team about the goals themselves or the means you have chosen to reach them. Please note that you will save everyone much agony if you readily admit to and give up things that donít work (even if it did seem like the most brilliant idea you ever had at the time). If it was someone elseís idea (and you want them to continue to share their ideas in the future), remember that it doesnít mean it was a bad idea and you donít need to get them to admit that. The only relevant fact is that it didnít work and you need to try something else. Sometimes, everything is on track and you just need to get to work.

I used to believe that the people I was working with were pretty much on the same page as I was. Even if we hadnít talked about an idea before, they would know immediately where I was coming from and agree with me once I told them about it. I was sure the same things that made it seem good to me would make it seem good to them. When I became a manager, I knew that people would do what I told them to do without question. We all knew what the facts were, and I was the one being paid to do the thinking and make the decisions.

It only took about 20 years for me to figure out why my way didnít work and how to get what I wanted. What I needed to learn was that most people want and need to know what you want and why you want it. This is good, actually. It means that they donít do extra work or non-productive work just because someone told them to sometime in the past. It means they get appreciation for what they do, instead of spending time and energy on things that nobody cares about. It means that they understand why something is necessary and how it will affect them. For the good of the group, people will even (sometimes) do something that is going to have an adverse impact on them personally. But, they sure donít like it when someone tricks or leads them blindly into it.

You canít expect people to just understand you without explanation. People will do the same job differently, even if it is meticulously defined and published in the job description manual for everyone to see. No one can know what you will do just because they know what your job is. You probably have a different agenda from the last person who had the job. The way you see your job is different from the way those that report to you see it and the way your boss sees it. People really have no way to know where you stand unless you tell them. What you want is usually not obvious to other people. Even when it is, the confirmation that what they think you want is actually what you want allows them to give up the time-consuming and stressful task of trying to read someone elseís mind.

The other non-workable part of my old style is that everyone that will be affected by the plan needs to have a hand in it. Your plan incorporates everything you can think of, but other people almost always have some piece of information that you donít have (especially the people who are actually doing the work) or a different way of looking at things. And then there is the situation I hate most, when the defect you just fixed needed to be there because it was preventing something even worse from happening! Of course, everybody but you already knew this.

People will give you what you want if they understand and share your goals. Donít make them read your mind.

Next Section: Tell Them Even If You Know They Won't Understand

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