I’m sure many have said a phrase similar, but I first heard the following phrase from Chris Hogan, one of the Ramsey personalities (Dave Ramsey that is).
To be unclear is to be unkind.
I love this phrase because it is so true. Have you ever had an assignment in school, or a task in your job, where the requirements were unclear? I have, and not only does it cause confusion, but also wastes the individual’s and company’s time. It is hard to hold people to certain standards when the directive is blurry.
Now sometimes, there are situations where someone is allowed to venture out on a creative exploit, where they have autonomy and freedom to explore. But the direction should still be clear. For example, “Brainstorm an idea for a new product that we can release this summer and get back to me within 30 days,” still defines a clear objective that allows for a non structured creative environment. On the other hand, “We should introduce a new product to release this year… you should work on that,” is a vague statement that leaves both the individual and the manager no details with which to measure success. End result: spinning wheels and wasting time.
In my current role, I have had the privilege to learn how to read and decipher technical specifications for trucks and equipment. Clear wording is essential when putting together quotes. I’ve learned quickly that pictures are truly worth 1,000 words, especially when building a heavy duty bucket truck. Pictures and diagrams bring clear direction to the process and allow the salesperson, the customer, and the shop technicians and engineers to all be on the same page. Through mistakes of omission , I’ve learned for example that a side profile picture of a vehicle is essential. This picture gives a visual foundation for the specific details that must be included in the quote. When manufacturers include pictures to go along with a certain hard to understand spec option, the quoting process is made much simpler. In addition you can show the customer a picture of what they plan to purchase.
Clarity is key when managing people and when selling product, and should be prioritized in all forms of communication in both life and business. Being unclear causes confusion, can cause businesses to lose money, can cause families to have disagreements, and the list goes on. We should be kind to people by being clear with people.