Communications Breakdown—Other People’s Ideas

“Communication breakdowns happen so often and so quickly that it’s best to start with the assumption that they’re going to happen at some point and plan accordingly.”

That advice comes from Doug Sundheim in his book Taking Smart Risks: How Sharp Leaders Win When Stakes are High. (we looked at questions you could ask after you’ve said something here.)

Sundheim outlines four clarifying questions to ask after someone has proposed an idea:

  1. Here’s what I’m hearing. Is that correct?
  2. I don’t know how that would look. Can you give me an example?
  3. I’m not sure of the best first step. What are your thoughts?
  4. I understand the strengths of your approach. What do you see as its drawbacks?

    other people's ideas

    Assume a communications breakdown will happen — plan accordingly

How do you check in to be sure you understand other people’s ideas? Share your answers in the comments.