“How do you want to see this?” This question is like a key artifact – its very important and even more rare. Much like finding that key relic, understanding how someone needs to see something can unlock the invisible force that prevents the dots from being connected.
The other day I had a conversation with a client where I had to dissect data differently than anyone else had done. We needed to find a way to help them save around 20% in an already tightly bid arena without sacrificing quality. At first it seemed impossible, but as I pored over the information, I was able to find unexpected opportunities to improve quality and lower costs. I created an execution plan and was prepared to share it.
As I started in on explaining it on our call, I found myself frustrating the other folks. After a while (which must have seemed like forever to them) I asked “So you’d like to see this in a letter stating what our price would be?” YES! They yelled. I was spending the time explaining how it would all work. They already trusted that I would deliver a system that worked. They needed the information in a simple to digest format for finance.
I was having the wrong conversation. Once they got me on track, the rest of the call went rather smooth. We moved away from the peppering of ideas and went straight to a pricing grid with caveats that are easy to explain to a layman.
More often than not, I find myself in the other chair described above. So I fully and completely understand the frustration of someone providing me information in a difficult to digest manner. I should have had the discussion about how to send them the information in the format they wanted, then been prepared to support my claims. This would have given them more control of the discussion, helping them find the information they know they need to meet their stakeholders needs.
The same goes for our team. We discuss managing what we can get yelled at about, but how is this information going to be shared with me? How is our team going to show me that they are managing according to the criteria we’ve provided? The method of gathering and sharing information goes a long way towards delivering consistently excellent results. Institutionalize changes through process and reporting and you are well on your way to results.