Clarifying Expectations Situation

1 Feb

Michael Kirk, who heads up one of the installation groups for a Silicon Valley based software company recently received word that a major installation was having serious problems. Michael calls on Chris Behreno, one of his most technically competent managers to work on the project which is falling behind. While Michael was reviewing the problems with Chris, he emphasized along the way how they were facing very tight deadlines. Michael ended the conversation by asking Chris for a plan for how best to address the problems.

At the end of the week, Chris provided Michael with the plan that outlined how best to address each of the problems. After glancing at what Chris did, Michael expressed his disappointment. “I could have done this myself,” he remarked.  “I wanted a more detailed plan with timelines and costs, not just a sketch of what needs to be done.”

Shocked at Michael’s response, Chris replied: “What do you mean – the whole plan?  Michael, I’ve never given you a whole plan on the first run-through.  You’ve always asked me to provide you with a brief overview of what we are going to do.”

 “That may be true”, said Michael, “but I told you that we were operating under very tight deadlines and you should have…”

Chris interrupted, “Michael, why didn’t you just tell me what you wanted me to do from the very beginning?  Then we wouldn’t have to go through this.”

 Think about how you would coach Michael and Chris if they were your colleagues or reported to you.


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