This month, I’m providing a career management tip-a-day (along with other posts) to help you trigger your own career management activities.
Today’s tip: Understand your task requirements.
One of the things we are consistently asked to do as cubicle warriors is to complete tasks given to us by management. Early in my career, I had a hard time getting the task done right the first time. When I sat down to analyze why this was the case, it turned out that I listened to what was asked of me, wrote down what I thought it meant, and then went and did the task.
But, I never confirmed that what I heard was what was being asked of me. consequently, I'd return to my manager all proud of what I had done on the day it was due and find out that what I had done wasn't what the manager meant for me to do.
This is bad for several reasons:
If you are really good at what you do, you'll figure out that when given a task by your manager, you'll go through a little process to make sure you know what is really needed for completion of the task:
Now, this feels very stilted if you have never done this before. You listen, then take notes, then repeat what you have understood back to your manager. It's not easy. It sounds trivial. But the first time you do it, you will be very surprised at how different what was asked of you is compared to what you heard.
It's your responsibility to completely understand the requirements of your task. Doing so enables you to completely deliver what is expected, in the right format, on time.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is rare in today's fast-paced Corporate Earth.