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Go Ahead – Ask! May 8, 2010

Posted by Jason in Daily PM.
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No report, recommendation, or analysis will ever be “perfect.”  Even the definition itself will vary depending on whether you are the expert or the client.  Hence the need for constant questions and feedback.

I recently provided a client with a draft document, with my standard request for any questions or concerns.  It would seem obvious that if someone has a question, they would ask it, but this may not always be the case.  Upon my follow-up with the client, I was advised that there were a few questions.  “Good,” I responded.

“Good??” came the reply, along with a questioning look.

I hadn’t really considered that there might be plenty of folks out there that aim for perfection on the first try, and might be over-thinking the solution without obtaining some feedback before going down the wrong path.

From my perspective, I value any questions very highly.  Not only do they help align our collective expectations, but they indicate a critical and thoughtful consideration of my recommendations.  I don’t want someone to cast a quick glance over a report and say, “Sure, looks great…let’s do it.”  It’s an easy pass for the short term, but I’d at least want to double check any critical assumptions rather than leave land mines for the implementation.

Don’t be afraid to receive questions (or even objections).  They mean that your analysis is being used as it should – contemplation of serious change.  And if you’re the client, don’t be afraid to ask.  A true professional will not be offended, and will in fact welcome the valuable dialogue.