YKK Stories

YKK Fundamental Behavior 7 – Clarify Expectations, Then Respond Quickly

August 2, 2022
Author: YKK
Fundamental Behaviors

YKK Fundamental Behavior 7 - Clarify Expectations, Then Respond Quickly.We have all, at times had to follow vague, unclear, or nonspecific instructions. These unclear instructions can be confusing, can result in errors and miscommunications, and can impact team morale. Do not confuse the clarity you have in your mind with the clarity someone else takes away from your conversation.

Clarity of communication includes paying attention to the words being used. Talk simply, break the concepts down into language, stories, examples that resonate with the other person’s experience. Be cautious about using acronyms or terminology that the recipient may not be familiar with or that could be interpreted to mean different things.

Take the extra time to explain why you are thinking what you are thinking. Although somewhat of a cliché, the phrase “sharing the why behind the what” is immensely valuable. Others don’t know why until you tell them why. Assume at your peril that people understand your intentions.

When in doubt clarify the message received by asking questions or summarizing what the speaker has said. Sometimes the message that a speaker is attempting to send can be complex, involving many different people or issues. Clarifying helps to sort these out and to check the speaker’s priorities. Some clarifying questions might be “When you said… what did you mean?” or “I’m not quite sure I understand what you are saying.” End all meetings with clarity about action items, responsibilities, and deadlines.

Respond quickly, even if you’re still working on a solution. The medium that we choose to communicate a particular message will depend on a variety of factors, but choosing the best communication tool, style, and forum will ensure the message is delivered effectively. With all the options we have for communicating today, choosing the right method is more important than ever.

I invite you to embrace this fundamental behavior by clarifying expectations, then respond quickly. In doing so we improve our communication, team effectiveness and organizational culture.

Michelle Doupnik
Director of Finance
Erie Architectural Products Inc.