“Fortune favors the prepared mind” – Louis Pasteur.
Most requests made in businesses today are incomplete, or the very least lacking information to coordinate fully. We believe this is because of a lack of preparation. While this might sound like a trivial thing when coordination becomes difficult, costs increase and no one likes more costs.
“Hey, can you have that report for me by Friday?” was an example of an ineffective request from the previous post. This is an example of a request that many times is accepted at face value without all of the pieces, and the first instance where we miss coordination.
In the first Conversation for Action post, we identified four primary stages of coordination. Here, we’ll focus on the first stage, “Preparation.”
We find there are six things needed for effective coordination in a conversation. This is what we call the Preparation stage. They are:
- Identify what outcome we want.
- What are all conditions that must show up for the outcome to be considered a success and you to be able to declare satisfaction?
- Why is this outcome important?
- Clarify when the outcome needs to be delivered and share why this delivery date is needed.
- Who should own this outcome?
- Are there others that will be needed to produce the desired outcome and who they are?
The next critical step is putting your preparation in the form of a request that is clear and actionable. Not putting in everything you identified during preparation will result in a request that isn’t fully understood and will increase cost in the form of productivity.
The ability to be clear with your request and clear on what was listened by the other person is the key to making an effective request. If one of the pieces mentioned above is missing, chances are you will be dissatisfied with the results.
These skills are useful for making requests of employees, contractors, vendors, and partners as well as conversations with your customers, your manager, VP, or CEO.
These are skills you can learn that are foundational to producing meaningful results.
If what matters is elevating your results as a leader or coach or those of your organization, the Foundations of Generative Leadership workshop is a place to start developing the needed skills.