Let Someone Else Talk

Fight the will to win or to lose, just for a moment:

  • Try to seek compromise.
  • Allow someone to save face.
  • Merge ideas when possible

In the short term, especially without control, this method will drive you crazy.

You’ll notice meetings getting longer than before. Maybe someone over talks from time to time. In fact, you may even miss a deadline or two.

Give it time, though, and something interesting starts to happen. People start to feel engaged. The work gets far more creative. In most cases, more risk means more reward (especially in this risk adverse world we live in).

Ask yourself, is the short-term silence of victory worth the long-term growth of the team?


Fluid Conversations

Your decisions shape the context of the conversation.

Decisions are significant. They shape your world. As a result, they shape how you communicate. When those decisions are unclear, you’ll find your ideas aren’t as impactful.

Communication breaks down because the definitions of the words you use are as fluid as the conversation itself.

If you find yourself wondering how someone “got there” from your words, it may be worth taking a moment to think about what both of you have decided.

When you are transparent there, you’ll find the conversation clears up.


Short and Sweet.

Good communication is:

  • Short.
  • Direct.
  • Repeatable.

Foggy, indirect language is a symptom of hazy, incidental thought.

Remember, according to information theory (It did build the internet, it must make some sense), all communication has some level of noise. It is one of the reasons why all perception is a gamble.

Repeating a message reduces noise. It is hard to replicate something that is indirect and long.

If no one understands you, try shortening your message up and repeating it.


You’re the Plug.

Reach out to your network.

I used to think “reaching out” to my network with an e-mail bothered people.

At some point, I realized how happy I feel when I get a simple thank you note or an update on someone’s work.

Then I realized that I am robbing people of that opportunity when I don’t take time out of my schedule to keep people updated.

Then I also realized, by keeping people up to date, I give them an opportunity to keep me up to date with what they do.

Finally, I realized that I could connect people to my network. That meant that I wasn’t bothering anyone. In fact, I was doing the opposite; I helped them.

Take a moment this week and write a short email about what you’re up to. Send it to an old mentor, co-worker, boss, or friend.

If you can’t think of anyone, I’d love to read it – adam@theadamthomas.com :-).

Use This Brief Email Template To Get Clear Objectives


It is simple

There is a simple, 2-minute idea that can improve your team’s completion percentage and improve relations between one who assigns and the assignee.

What is it?

First, let me give you a look into an experience I am sure we’ve all had:

Person 1 gives person 2 a task. Then, person 2 accepts the job. Person 1 marks a date on the calendar when it’s due. Afterwards, person 2 just works in her corner of the office. Person 1 adds another thing and another thing to person 2’s workload. Person 2 misses the date.

As a result, both end up resentful.

Does this sound familiar? I’ve been both person 1 and 2. Both are frustrating positions.

The problem isn’t competency or skill. The issue is communication.

How do you fix it? You check in with the other person.

Take a look at the exercise below for a sample “check-in” email that helps both sides of the equation.


Write a “check-in” email about a project or task.

As Person 1:


How is [job name] coming along?

My understanding about the project is you are: [Where you think person two is]

Is there anything I can do to help? [List potential problems/roadblocks]

This job is a [priority level] because [why is it important to the strategy]

As Person 2:


I am checking in about [task name here]

Here is where I am: [Small status report here]

I may have trouble with this: [Potential problems and roadblocks in the short-term]

My priorities, in order: [Job list]

This brief email clarifies communication problems by letting people know exactly where they stand. That, in turn, improves morale and helps person 1 create a landing zone(LZ) for later projects.

“Say What You Mean” Might Not Mean What You Think


There is freedom in clarity, so take opportunities to make it

At the moment, sometimes it’s hard to say what you mean.

Think about the last time you talked to a coworker, spouse, or friend and the phrase “say what you mean” hopped into the conversation.

Did that make things clearer or did you come up with something based on the moment that would satisfy the people engaged with you?

I am betting on the latter.

We have complicated brains. Sometimes they work too fast for our good. A phrase like “say what you mean” can get us to focus on all the stimuli at the moment and concoct a response.

We then hold that response to the truth, even if it was just fleeting and in the moment.

It makes things complicated and in response to the phrase “say what you mean,” we often do the opposite.

It’s hard to break that programming – to say something unclear – because our lizard brain likes to play fight or flight.

Don’t React.

When you can, take a step back, and restate the points in the conversation.


When you hear “Say what you mean:”

  • Ask the other person what they are perceiving
  • Listen to how they understand the conversation
    • Don’t fight it or fix while they explain
  • When you hear it all, paraphrase what they said back to them, so they feel heard
  • Fix the gaps with this “I didn’t mean ‘X‘ when I said ‘Y,’ My intention was ‘Z.'”
    • I didn’t say that you were awful when I stated that you didn’t bring call, my intention was to let you know I care about those things.

“Say what you mean” is a trigger .Take a break when you hear it. Give both sides the opportunity to catch up.

It’s OK to Ask Questions

“Dumb questions” make us smarter.

There is a mistake most of us make when talking about questions.

We think of simple questions as “dumb.” This thought process is a major mistake.

There is a great value to someone who asks the simple questions. Simple questions aren’t “dumb.”

There is beauty in pure simplicity. Simple questions are clear and as a result, those questions make sure everyone is on the same page.

It also helps everyone in the room.

  • The person who asked: An answer
  • The person who responded: If the answer is available, this lets his/her know there is an opportunity to make it more available.
  • Everyone in the room: The answer and the insight!

Simple questions open the world around us. They create change and show a gold mine of value when we revisit them.