March 25, 2010

Slow Down

Posted in Business, Technology, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:07 pm by lindaslongview

After acquiring a handful of consulting clients over the past many months, I have finally embarked on building a real business.  I am in the process of creating a manifesto of services and infrastructure to support it.

I recently hired Greg (Cloud Marketing Labs) to build me a website and “market Linda.”  He pushed me to define what I represent, how I work, what clients should expect, and more.  One of the things Greg recommended was to solicit feedback from my current clients, find out what they liked and what they might value in a future offering.  Thinking that I had really over-delivered with clients thus far, I compiled a list of questions and asked for feedback.

It all seemed easy until I received the following feedback relative to Rapport (Beside Manner):

Question: Do you find our interaction to be positive?  Did you feel like you better off because you called me?

Answer: I feel that I was better off because of you, but not sure if all shared that sentiment.  You have a very strong personality, which is not completely embraced by all.

That was unexpected and I needed to understand how to improve.  I immediately committed to understand “strong personality” – it could mean so many things…

I had a follow-up meeting with my client yesterday.  (I am grateful that he agreed to discuss this further.)  I learned that the negative reaction was associated with a strong recommendation that I had made about how to run a specific experiment and what data should be gathered.  In retrospect, I had not taken adequate time to parse, describe the why, and encourage understanding about the data needs.  As such, my strong recommendation felt disrespectful and intransigent to some team members.  Although there is always tension between Go Fast and Move Slow, ultimately, my desire to execute the experiment quickly got in my way.  I must remind myself constantly that a hike is not over until everyone reaches the campsite.  It is not possible to go faster (without casualty) than the slowest team member.

My long view advice:

  • Slow down – take time to teach and encourage understanding with the entire team.  It is not good enough to understand alone, achievement occurs only when everyone has arrived at understanding.
  • Stay committed to improvement, know that everyone needs to be reminded to do better – no one is perfect.
  • Ask for the last 10%, which is the feedback that is difficult to give, harder to hear, but most important for improvement (described in the book Integrity, pg.120).
  • Listen, internalize, and adjust accordingly.

I am extremely grateful for the candid honesty of my client.  To that end, I am re-committed to slowing down to ensure that understanding is achieved before asking for execution.

Are you ensuring understanding before asking for execution?

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2 Comments »

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