I am finding more and more, that the only way to get a process or activity back “on track” is to plug myself into the middle of it.
Frustrating really, and I often ask myself “why did it have to come to this” and “why can’t these people just work things out on their own”.
The most recent example I had of this was a client piece of documentation that was taking far too long to complete for both parties.
There was frustration on both sides that progress was not being made fast enough. The customer was feeling their requirements were not being delivered, or even understood, and the supplier did not understand what was actually missing when it was “already there in the document”.
This is not an unusual situation to be in, and is representative of any number of problem situations we face all-day and every-day in our home and work life.
But what is the way forward when this happens? And what is that piece of the puzzle that is actually missing? And how do you get a broken process back onto the right tracks?
From my experience, here a few things worth considering;
- Listening – I always like to start with asking the customer what is that piece they feel is missing from what they already have. This might sound simple, but this is a non-trivial question, and often needs a lot of “teasing out” to get to the answer.
- Why – I then like to understand why that is important, because this gives me get a better context of the requirements for both parties.
Most of the time, the delta that needs to be bridged between two sides is actually not that great.
The thing that I have learnt that is most often missing, is the translation service for one, or both sides, on what is important for each, and why this matters.
99% of the time people are happy to work together to get to the right outcome and most people are happy to do that in a positive and constructive way.
And when you can get everyone understanding of each other’s perspective, each others needs and each others context, most of the time the resolution can happen very quickly
The hard bit is doing the translation that will get you to that point.