Continued from What is That? Part 1
She grabbed the curtains with both hands and threw them open with the strength of a body builder. As the curtains flung to each side, I’ll never forget the words that left her mouth. This is how the conversation went:
DLo: What is that? What is that?
CLo: It’s fog.
DLo: I can see that it’s fog. What’s it doing here? Where’s the sun? There are people walking on the beach with jackets on in July!
CLo: Yeah, it’ll be okay. It’ll burn off in a bit.
DLo: Chris, there’s no way that’s burning off! That’s a lot of fog!
CLo: I promise it’ll burn off. A mile inland it’s 90 degrees without a cloud or hint of fog in the sky. This is just what happens here in the summer. Trust me.
You see, most people don’t know that the Pacific is actually colder in the summer and warmer in the winter. It has something to do with the way that the tides do their tide thing. The hot air from the inland crashes into the cold air from the ocean and creates fog. That’s why I’ve always said that the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. I took Debbie to breakfast, and sure enough, as we headed inland, it was like God lifted the veil and there was nothing but immense blue sky.
Later I learned that the problem wasn’t the fact that there was a bunch of fog on the beach. She was disappointed because I set up a specific expectation of there being a beautiful, sunny beach. And when she awoke, that expectation was not met. I wasn’t worried about her initial disappointment because I understood that the fog would burn off soon and her expectation would eventually be met. I was perfectly fine with the situation.
Where I had fallen short, though, was in building up her expectations and then deflating them simply because I didn’t share all of the information about the area ahead of time. If I’d let her known it would be mid-morning before the sun blasted through, she could have gotten out of bed more like the Wicked Witch. Haha. Wicked Witch. I crack me up!
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are sharing all of the information with those involved. In “Please…Say Something!” I talked about my mistake of assuming everyone knows what I know. Therefore, my communication has a tendency to stink at times. If yours does too, it will show up in your team’s failures. If you hold back information that would make them successful, they have few options but to fail. They might be strong enough to figure it out, but usually they don’t know what it is that needs figuring out.
The moral of the story? Over communicate. Don’t leave your peeps in the dark. Share as much as you can that is related to the subject. Then, as I always say, ask them if they have any questions. Give them the opportunity to fill in the blanks in their minds. This way you won’t have a “What is this?” moment.