Off the shelf courses

The Power of Clarity

Leaving the Assumption Warehouse

Fourteen years ago, NASA lost a $125 million Mars Orbiter spacecraft. The reason: one team used metric units of measurement, while the other used English units for a key spacecraft operation. This erroneous assumption of clarity between these partnering teams led to an expensive and humiliating failure.

While you may not have been scorched in the assumption warehouse like NASA, you have probably worked on projects that got pretty far along, only to discover that your time was wasted or worse. Your team lead meant something other than what the project team understood and you had to rewind and start from scratch. Wasting time, money, and energy is always disappointing, but needing to throw out beautifully architected work because it doesn't meet the requirements - well, that's straight up demoralizing. Realizing you've individually contributed to the mishap can feel even worse.

Whether you are the team lead or an engineer, you can help reduce these errors for your team. In this workshop, you will learn and practice a proven system to uncover hidden assumptions, avoid misunderstandings, and gain precision in speaking and listening.

The result: fewer problems from unchecked assumptions, more ease, and a team that actually likes working together. You make your deliverables without the upset and drama of needlessly throwing out hard work or leaving dead bodies on the side of the road.

Course Outcomes:

  • Recognize signals when assumptions are creeping in
  • Turn assumption and innuendo into clarity and precision
  • Use a deliberate, time-tested approach that creates solid two-way communication
  • Use natural curiosity to avoid blame and defense
  • Understand and use the best questions to ask when precision and clarity are vital
  • Track and rectify misunderstandings before they turn into conflicts
  • Keep meetings on track and people on the same page
  • Develop greater trust and fun

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