A blog by Peter Stinckens
The last of the basic rules is about the quality of the work you have to do. Some of us use our own standards while others use the maximum quality standard they can imagine. There’s something to be said for using the maximum standards. However, it usually leads to a lot of wasted time.
Here’s an example. When I took over as temporary manager for a company, I asked the sales manager to give me a quick overview of sales per channel, just to get an idea of the importance of the different channels we used. I explicitly ask for just the basic, and I needed them for a meeting that afternoon. To me it was clear, just jot down the basic number on a piece of paper, or send them via email.
But although he agreed, the meeting came closer and I didn’t have the details. So I grew inpatient. He had been given four hours, and still I didn’t have those five basic numbers. I called him at midday. He told me he was working on it. I couldn’t believe it, the sales manager of a large international company, and he didn’t know those simple data by heart?
So I stepped to his office an asked him what he was doing. He was preparing an extensive presentation of every detail, per channel, per country, per product group and so on. When I pointed out that I only needed the numbers he had on the second slide, nothing more, he replied that he committed to quality in everything he did and could not accept that he would deliver less.
Now how much time did he waist, working this way? A lot. Several hours a day. We all have that strange interpretation of quality. We all seem to think that quality is what we think it is. Well, quality – in this context – is delivering exactly whet the other wants and not waist time on things that are not needed. People will always judge you and your work on how close it comes to their expectations of quality and time.
If someone just wants some numbers on a piece of paper, then deliver that. If someone wants an extensive presentation, then deliver that. Anything else will only bring frustration and reflect badly on you.
Always ask people exactly what they expect. Always, even if you think you know what they want. It will save you a lot of time and it will help you to be appreciated for the hard work you do.