Barrier #1: Guessing when you could be asking

check markI’ve stopped working with some generally competent and likeable people because we couldn’t get past Barrier #1 to effective communication skills. They guessed when they could have asked.

I think of one fellow who told me a week after I sent him a PowerPoint mock-up of what I wanted that he couldn’t open the file. That’s why what he delivered didn’t match what I wanted. I get – I do it, too. But it’s still a barrier.

I establish a policy with some of my associates of asking each other three questions about every task, even if we think it’s clear. Amazingly, we almost always uncover some assumption.

Just ask. It’s pretty simple. And yet, since we don’t know what we don’t know, it can be hard. But not as hard as ending a valued work association because you never quite got aligned with each other. 

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