The one thing you cannot do 4


Thomas Lindqvist

Believe it or not, this is my angry face.

I touched upon this in an earlier post. But I thought it was worth repeating from a team perspective.

If you’re on my team a very quick outline of some sort of expectations management statement could read:

I expect you to speak up when something is wrong.
I expect you to speak up whenever you spot a problem.
I expect you to speak up when something doesn’t make sense to you.
I expect you to tell me when I’m wrong.
I expect you to bring your skill and passion to the table.

And what can you expect from me?

I will listen to you.
I will gather as much input as possible and facilitate a process that leads us forward.
I will kill all nonsense coming your way.
I will get out of your way and let you work your magic.
I will trust and support you.

Basically, we are all problem solvers. If the circumstances surrounding our project, or the very essence of our project deliverables, are completely free of obstacles, or in no need of solutions, I would venture a guess and say that the project in itself is probably rather meaningless, or rather: of little value. In a sense, value is created when difficulties are overcome. For this very reason, hiding problems out of sight out of mind, means compromising the whole process of delivering value.

If you are on my team, you are allowed to fail, if you just made an honest effort and hope to learn something from mistakes made. But the one thing you cannot do. The one thing that will earn you a shit storm of hellish wrath, is this line of thinking:

“It’s crap, a road to ruin, but that’s what the customer wants so hey, by any means – let’s go build it, see if I care!”

Think like that? Time to quit.


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4 thoughts on “The one thing you cannot do

  • alindqvist

    Something happened ? 😉 Good read again Thomas. I have almost always used the same list of expectations from my teams over the years, but with one addition: “I expect you to tag each of the problems you voice with at least one proposed solution or action to solve. It doesn't matter if it's not THE solution, or even usable, but it show's that you are not a problem-dumper but a part of a collective problem solving effort.”

  • Thomas

    Nah, nothing happened. At least nothing recent, the subject just crossed my mind as old bagage came floating up. Your addition to the list of expectations is very sound and I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for commenting!

  • kim

    You are the boss of everyone's dreams. I know that from experience. Not a lot of people have the ability to say that and really mean it. I am referring to the list of expectations in terms of giving feedback and point out what is wrong. Not in my experience anyway. Most people are to insecure to take it for what it is, even when you propose a solution. So how do you deal with people in authority who can't deal with honesty? Or maybe it's a female thing? We are nags. Although I am loath to believe that.

    I realize presentation means everything as well. However, it occurred to me that we aren't taught to be honest in our dealings with people. We are taught to save peoples feelings and to take what people say to us personal even when it isn't, rather necessary to the work process or getting on with things. So, maybe we need to start being more honest in all aspects of our lives. Maybe being polite is overrated or used inappropriately? Having said this I do not mean that we are then allowed to be assholes to people, yelling at them, calling them names, etc. Just being able to handle blunt truth.

    And why don't we call people out when we both know they are blatantly lying. Even more confusing for me, making up the most unbelievable lies to get out of… That I take personal. I want to ask, are you insulting my intelligence on purpose or are you counting on me being too polite to point out your inept ability at lying convincingly rather than just state the truth. Especially when whatever it is your are trying to cover up isn't worthy of a cover up. Why do I not point this out? Sometimes it's not worth the effort, but when it is why do we walk away confused and shaking or heads. Cause this also happens in the work place. Any studies on this?

  • Thomas

    Hi Kim, thanks for joining in.

    I think what you’re talking about us very much a corporate cultural thing. But basically I think you can come a long way by not allowing for people to loose face by your honesty. If you do, they will certainly become defensive. A calm and rational one-on-one argument supported by evidence, always reminding the person you talk to that we are all fighting for the same cause, could do the trick. And then again, some people just 'aint no good. No remedy there.