What Is Wrong With This Picture?

Acadia National Park

My wife and I just returned from a great vacation a few weeks ago.  We went to Acadia National Park in Maine which is beautiful this time of year.  Like many travelers, we asked someone to take our picture while at a scenic overlook.  This kind stranger gladly said yes.   After a couple quick snaps of the shutter, the kind man zipped away on his Harley.  We continued to enjoy the view from Cadillac Mountain then suddenly my wife begins to laugh and says, “I don’t believe it.”

Somehow, we have wonderful shots of the valley and my wife.  But yes, I’m nowhere to be seen.

While I’d agree, more pictures of my wife and less of me are better, that wasn’t what we were expecting.  Did the guest photographer understand the request?  Did he know how to use the camera?  Was the task more difficult than anticipated?  My hunch is that he understood and was fully capable.  After all, he mastered driving a Harley Davidson motorcycle on a winding mountain road before being promoted to amateur photographer.  I suspect that he has a wickedly good sense of humor and quickly recognized my better half.

In any case, there is a Lean lesson to be learned.  There are too many times when seemingly simple tasks are not completed to the expectations of leadership.  This could be for several reasons.  There are times when leadership thinks that the expectations are obvious and go without saying yet they are not so clear to others.  On other occasions, there is a superficial discussion of what is needed but the discussion is not detailed enough so that all parties are truly on the same page.  There are even occasions where the expectations are stated clearly, even in writing, but for a variety of reasons these expectations are not received or understood.  There are times when the request is not as simple as it seems.

Communication is a two-way street but it is your responsibility as a Lean Leader to ensure that the communication has been effective.  This can often mean that you over communicate, check for understanding, and follow-up on important communications even when it’s a seemingly simple task.


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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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6 Responses to What Is Wrong With This Picture?

  1. sabline says:

    What a great connection. Truly made me smile. I agree with you that communication is a two way street and can be very difficult. Im still learning the art of communicating, checking up and follow ups without the other person feeling like they are being micromanaged.

  2. John says:

    setting clear expectations is not micromanaging. We often confuse telling what needs to happen with micromanagement. Great little piece connecting a real life situation with a lean learning. Thanks

  3. This could also demonstrate that part of leadership is finding the right person for the job.

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