This morning, between tightly packed conference calls and fiddling with some ridiculously complicated network drawings, I had a moment to turn my left brain off and flip through my Facebook feed.
Immediately I dipped into the hilarious saga of one of my longtime friends, who has the misfortune (her word) to be blessed with fraternal twins. The pair are going through the "why" phase, as in, "Why can't I bungee jump off the roof?," "Why can't I sleep in the bathtub?," "Why can't I tape the TV to my head?," and so on.
Reading these, I laughed like anyone would -- until it dawned on me that the questions I had just asked in a recent conference call had probably sounded a lot like that, judging by the exasperation in the voice of the software vendor on the other end of the line. Yet, as it turned out, those fantastically irritating questions changed the character of the project entirely and ended up saving the client a very large sum of money.
Make time to ask the questions
Too often, the breakneck pace of troubleshooting and managing a deluge of new projects robs us of the chance to consider the bigger picture. Instead, we learn to streamline the conversation, get the information we really need, and finish the job as quickly as possible so that we can move on.