January 25

Misunderstandings are bound to happen in the course of your work. This is especially true when you are collaborating with or leading multiple people. There are often so many conversations happening in the same day that it can be difficult to keep track of who said what to whom.

One discipline that I believe firmly in is to always complete your conversations. This means never leaving an interaction with someonewithout having a mutual understanding of what was discussed, a clear sense of next actions based on the discussion, and clear accountability[1]for who will complete those actions and by when. I realize that this sounds incredibly obvious (we’re all adults, after all!), but an incredible amount of organizational pain is the direct result of one person making an assumption based on an incomplete conversation.

“Did you thinkIwas going to do that? I thoughtyouwere…”

“Oh, you wanted that by Friday? I thought it was due next week.”

Simple misunderstandings like this can trickle down and wreak havoc on the rest of the team. By taking the simple step to complete each conversation, you avoid entirely preventable pain.

As you close each of your interactions today, make certain to complete the conversation.

Don’t allow dissonance to emerge simply because you don’t close open loops.

Are there any incomplete conversations you’ve had recently that need to be completed?

AU: I think these points are discrete enough that they don’t require the divisions, which can be distracting to readers.

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