- The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815 – 1914 by Richard J. Evans
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
- The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
- Forget Reach, Start Selling by Ger Van Den Buijs
- KNOWN: The Handbook for for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age by Mark Schaefer
- CUSTOMER – Who’s doing the asking here? Who’s the request actually FOR? Never assume anything that looks obvious, here. When someone says something like, “We need to do some research on this” you desperately need to know who the research is for, so you can get to specific expectations about the research and also know to whom you go for further clarification or if you have concerns.
- PERFORMER – Who’s going to do the work? Is it you? Are you qualified? Do you have the resources (time, talent, funds…) to fulfill the request? Is that clear to you AND to the requester?
- ACTION – Just what EXACTLY does the customer want you to do? Can you actually do it? What measurements for the action or deliverables will be the outcomes of this action?
- TIMEFRAME – When does the customer want it to be completed….Oh, and ASAP is not at all helpful. Get a solid date, since ASAP may mean by the end of the week to you and by the end of the day to the customer.
- I ask that you…
- I request
- Will you (please)…
- (Please) do this….
- I want or I need…
- Why don’t you…
- …needs to be done.
- My coffee cup is empty. (Secret request: Get me more coffee.)
- The conference room is a disaster. (Secret request: Clean up the conference room.)
- It’s almost eleven o’clock. (Secret request: Get me the printed slides for the 11:00 team meeting.)
- COMMIT – “Yes, I’ll do it.” To them this means, “I will do exactly what you’ve asked me to do. Here is where real clarity about the request is critical. If the request is vague or missing information, it is up to you to ask for it.
- DECLINE – “No, I can’t (or won’t) do it.” This let’s the customer that you aren’t available to do whatever she’s requesting…..she needs to find a different resource. Sadly, in the workplace, many times “No” isn’t an option….however, saying “Yes” is truly setting yourself up for failure, so consider how “No” could be framed.
- COUNTEROFFER – “I can’t do that, but instead I can do…” This is one way “No” in the workplace could be framed. Create something that MIGHT work. A counteroffer opens a negotiation scenario between you and the customer. This should end in either a commitment or a declination. Leaving things hanging in midair is the same as failure.
- COMMIT-TO-COMMIT – “I need to check on something (resources, time, etc.) before I can get you an answer. I’ll get back to you by…” You might need more information. Regardless of the reason, be sure to designate a time at which they WILL get a firm answer.
- Make sure you can actually do what is asked of you BEFORE you respond to a request.
- If the request is unclear, ask for clarification and any missing bits of information.
- If you are offering to do something, be sure they understand what you CAN and CANNOT do.
- Listen to people to determine if they are making EXTREMELY indirect requests of you. Are they just talking, or are they creating a framework of expectations that are clear to them and vague to you? Decide which it is, and respond.
How do you arrive at the thing or things to focus on every day?
“Well, that happened.”
How many jobs have you had where the expectation was that you would be “comfortable with ambiguity“? Be honest….is anyone really Comfortable with Ambiguity?! Or is this just the company’s way of stating the obvious: everything changes, so hang on?
It is much too easy to burrow into your business and go deeper into the knowledge, building more depth and expertise in that area so you can be an even better resource for your customers. But doesn’t this turn you into a “one-trick pony”? For example, in my social media consulting business, does it truly broaden my mind and stretch my intellect to become more facile in the inner workings of Facebook and Content Marketing…or is it kind of “more of the same”?