As a business owner, you're most likely giving
employee directions all day. Everyone wants
answered and help getting pointed in the right
direction. After all, since you're the boss, they want to
know what it is you want them to be doing. Probably
you're just like me and give perfect directions,
but find that subordinates and delegates have a
difficult time understanding them.
This could be the result of our perfection
being perfect for ourselves, only.
And admittedly, you and I have our share of problems
following directions by others, too. I gave up reading
manuals long ago when they were printed in English,
Spanish, German and French in the same booklet.
Directions are hard enough to follow without having to
find the next consecutive page written in English after
flipping through all of the other language pages to find
Recently, I was reminded of the difficulty of
understanding one of the oldest forms of directions,
compass directions: North, East, South and
West. Son Will and I were driving in an area that he
was not familiar with. In an effort to orient him to the
geography, I asked the 18 year old what direction we
were traveling. North, South, East or West? He
paused for a moment, grinned and said "North?"
"Close, you're only off 180 degrees; we're headed
South", I answered dryly.
"Well, North is always in front of you, and
that's where we are pointed, ahead of us", he
He got me. He's right about North, in a map reading
sense. Since North is usually at the top of a map and
moving forward, or up, on the map moves you in the
direction of North.
Therefore, in Will's logic, what you see through the
windshield is always North. I suspect Chief
will not be a job title he will ever hold, but his thought
process is valid.
Navigation by dead reckoning is not as common as I'd
like it to be. The way others follow instructions is as
predictable as the way they interpret compass
directions. It doesn't take long to lose your way
traveling, or lose your way completing a task or job
Are your instructions and directions for employees
and family members clear for "dead reckoners",
landmark navigators and "seat of the pants" flyers?
Taking time when assigning a project to make certain
that the delegate understands your intentions will pay
in better efficiency and lower frustration levels for both
People learn three ways: seeing, hearing and
doing. Often this is described as visual,
auditory and kinesthetic learning. Since
most people have a strong preference for one
method, it's your job to give directions and
instructions in a way that supports that method best.
And if you don't believe me, I'll draw you a picture,
shout it in your ear and show you how to experience
exactly what I mean.
Be perceptive about perspective when giving