Have you ever asked someone to complete a task and discovered later they never did it? You were as clear as you could be and respectful when you made that request. The employee seemed to understand your expectations and even agreed to complete the task. What happened? We often think we know, the employee is lazy, they don't care, they're wasting time on something not important, they're not dependable. First off, if you ever find yourself thinking they're lazy, from now on a little red flag should go up in your head because few people are naturally lazy. There may be many reasons that people have lost their motivation, but laziness is actually rare. Most human beings like to accomplish, learn, make progress. Leaving behind our assumptions about our employees work ethic, let's take a look at how we assigned the task. Here's a common conversation, "Hey, Joe. What would you think about doing an inventory count on the first three warehouse aisles this week, instead of waiting for the full inventory next week? We don't have any orders going out this week from there anyway and it'll save time during next week's full inventory. Then Joe says, "Sure." Here's another, "Hey, Martin. Nice job on the report, it looks great. There are some edits that I've written in the margins, but otherwise looks great." Martin says, "Thanks." Or, "Hey, Ahmed. Don't you agree we should lower the price on winter coats?" Ahmed says, "Aha." But Joe doesn't do the inventory. Martin makes a few changes to the report, and Ahmed does not lower the price on the winter coats. What happened? When the manager says, "Joe what would you think about doing an inventory count?" What did the Manager think they were asking Joe? Actually, they were probably not asking Joe anything, they were telling Joe, "Do the inventory." What Joe heard was, "Would you consider doing the inventory?" Joe thought about it and with the other priorities on his list decided it would be more productive to wait and do all the inventory at once. The manager's intent was to get Joe to do the inventory, but what Joe heard was, "What do you think about doing the inventory?" Oftentimes when we communicate with other people, we have an intent; what we mean for them to hear, or understand, or do, or experience, but sometimes the impact our words or actions have on the other person differs from our intent. The impact is what they heard, or understood, or experienced. I was working on a project with a new associate. We hadn't actually met in person, we were just talking via e-mail and chat, and we were working on the project plan. At one point I sent her message that said, "I'm going to get really backed up toward when this project is due, and I'd really appreciate if you could give me the information earlier maybe by this date." I gave her a date. A few days later, I got an email and it said, "See attached." There was a document attached and the name of the document was, yourmess.doc. Your mess, thanks a lot. I thought we were going to partner on this, I thought we were going to work together, but no it's my mess and it influenced the way I experienced this project. I felt like I had to slug through all of the information she sent, and compile it, and analyze it, and assess it, and write up my report. Then toward the end I thought, well, I'll be a good team player and I'll send her a copy of the draft of the report for her comments before I send it to the client. I email her, "Here's the draft looking forward to your thoughts." Five seconds later, I get a phone call and she says, "Oh, I meant to follow up to make sure you've got the information from your message." Your message. When she named that document, your mess, in her mind she was thinking your message, but what I heard was your mess and it influenced the way I saw the information. This happens with tremendous frequency. If you have a misunderstanding with someone, I recommend taking a look. Is that what they meant to say? Or do they hear what I intended for them to hear? Also, oftentimes when we have a negative experience, we assume the other person intended it. I recommend going forward that you remember that intent does not always match impact, and assume the other person had positive intentions when they began interacting with you. It will save you a lot of heartache and will encourage you to follow up and ask for clarification. I could easily have sent her an email back that said, "Hey is there anything going on? I'm a little confused by the name of the file." We could have cleared the whole thing up in a few minutes. Yes, she could have taken a few extra moments and named the file something more meaningful, but both people are always responsible to ensure that intent matches impact. Why doesn't the Manager asked Joe directly to complete the inventory? Consider this before watching the next video.