How To Stop Losing Money (And Your Mind) Because
Your Team Isn’t Doing What Needs To Be Done
“Are we on the same page?” asks the contracting business owner.
The team member nods in agreement and leaves to complete the task.
Hours later, the team member returns, proud of the task completed. Unfortunately, it’s not what you wanted. What now? Do you get the team member to redo the task? Do you assign someone else? Do you complete the task yourself? At what cost to your business? And what if it was a task for a customer and now the business is impacted financially?
This scenario happens daily, in many different ways, in contracting businesses around the world. The owner has one idea and delegates (hey, delegation is a step in the right direction!) Meanwhile, the team member completes the task at the level they think is appropriate but it turns out not to be.
With clear communication, you create alignment with your team, and the seemingly simple task, which could have been screwed up, will more likely be done the way you envision it.
Is the team member really to blame? If they cheated or did an unethical short-cut, then yes they are. But most of the time, that’s not the case. Rather, it’s a matter of a misalignment and a lack of clarity between what you want and what the team member thinks needs to be done.
It’s the fundamental challenge that happens when two or more humans interact (and this problem doesn’t just exist in contracting businesses; you’ll see similar misalignments in your family relationships, too.) It happens because communication is not just about you sharing your thoughts with someone else. There’s much more to it than that: communication is your ideas, confined by your word choices, communicated to another person, and then interpreted by that person’s understanding of the words, and then interpreted further by that person’s thoughts and ideas and motivations. Communication is complex.
So, your seemingly simple instruction to “put gas in the truck” might be interpreted in many different ways, all of which are potentially correct to the person who hears your communication. Maybe they go drive to a gas station across town because they think gas is cheaper there and you’d like that. Or maybe they drive to a gas station across the state because they want some time away from the office. Or maybe they put gasoline where the diesel fuel should go. Or maybe they buy a bunch of gas cans, fill each one with gas, and put them in the back of the truck. Or maybe they decide to do it tomorrow, first thing. All of those outcomes are correct, but none of them are what you intended, and some will even hurt your business.
The solution is a tool I call the “Warrior Key 6.” These are six key questions you need to answer before you communicate to anyone on your team to ensure that you are creating clarity in the guidance, instructions, and assignments you give. Spending two minutes with these Key 6 questions will save you hours of redoing tasks that aren’t completed the way you want.
The Key 6 questions are: What? Why? When? Where? How? Who?
Seems almost too simple; yet, if you’ve ever had to re-assign an improperly completed task it’s because at least one of these Key 6 questions weren’t addressed.
Look again at the simple instruction to “put gas in the truck.” How might the Key 6 clarify that?
What? Put diesel in truck #4.
Why? We need the truck filled so we can drive it to a customer’s house at 3pm.
When? Do it right away, or at least in time to get back to the office by 2pm so we can load up and hit the road.
Where? Go to XYZ station where we have an account.
How? Get the keys, go there right away, and report back when done.
Who? Go by yourself, and don’t delegate to someone else.
See how much more clarity there is when you answer the questions? You create so much alignment with your team and the seemingly simple task, which could have been screwed up, will more likely be done according to the way you envision it.
The above example is very simple, of course, and you’d probably agree that even the simplest tasks can be done improperly. But the Warrior Key 6 is a powerful tool for any situation and task, even more complex ones.
If you’ve ever been frustrated in your contracting business because it wasn’t growing as quickly as you’d like, and because your team doesn’t always seem to do what they need to do, then there’s a clarity and alignment issue. Fortunately, the Warrior Key 6 is a simple tool to keep on your desk – to check quickly before you assign any task – to instantly create more clarity and alignment. You’ll find that more work gets done right the first time, and that can be a game-changer in your contracting business!
Mike Agugliaro, is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building Gold Medal Services’ success, as co-owner of the company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.CEOWARRIOR.com.