A to Z of people skills – Realism

December 24th, 2012

I wrote “Realism” and then paused. When you are dealing with colleagues and customers, you need to balance a positive, optimistic view of what can be achieved with the realistic view of how and when it will be completed. When multiple teams are involved in delivering a service, I find that the view of what can realistically be achieved by each team is not always the same. It seems that many people under-estimate the amount of time it takes for others to do things and then promise delivery based on those estimates. Some just don’t want to challenge a customer when they ask for something to be done by a specific, unrealistic, date. A few things to consider:

  • Before you commit to deadlines, consider how you know how long something will take, if it’s not within your direct control.
  • Based on previous experience, what is most likely to cause a delay?
  • Is the deadline simply when the customer wants it, or when they really need it, and what else depends on meeting that date?
  • Under-promise and over-deliver was first heard in customer-service many years ago …. and it still applies

If you have colleagues who are not as realistic as they could be, are committing people to unrealistic deadlines or losing business by being too pessimistic, think about their communication, management and teamwork skills and where you could best help them develop.

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