Falling Into A Comfort Zone

Okay everyone, I am going to be a bit transparent this week…don’t judge me!  As I always say, I don’t want to talk at you but with you.  Please join in and share your experiences, ask your questions, or correct me.  Let’s get this going…

I was recently assigned to a new project in which we are developing a new service in support of an upcoming launch of new laptop models (some excellent machines!).  For those of you that don’t know, I am in Lenovo’s Global Services Sales & Marketing Division.  Lenovo is the 4th largest & fastest growing maker of personal computers with +/-20,000 employees & global operations on six continents.  The Global Services Business supports a $15+ billion PC business w/customers in approximately 140 countries.

Anyway, this was a project that had a short runway, minimal volumes, and minimal risk to the business.  While a brand new service, standing it up was very similar to half a dozen other services/offerings we have enabled before. ..dare I say routine?  Team members: Marketing Communications, Finance, Procurement, Legal, BT & IT, Service Delivery, Geo Marketing (NA, LA, EMEA, ANZ, etc)…all with at least 10 years of experience and minimum of 5 at Lenovo.  This should have been a slam dunk right?

In preparation of our upcoming executive update and approval to launch, I was doing a ’round-table’ with the team to ensure everyone was progressing according to plan, that they were ‘pre-wiring’ their respective executive on the board, etc.  Some of the project team members have a responsibility to provide input to the presentations (forecasts/P&L’s, E2E Process Flows, etc), so I also reminded them of their responsibilities on those deliverables.  Enter the comfort zone…  Shortly after communicating the checkpoints to my team and asking for their inputs, my Service Delivery resource (with 15+years of experience) sends me an email “Robert, what is a swim-lane?  What king of End-To-End (E2E) do you want?”  What!? You are Service Delivery…you do end to end processes!  Swim-lanes, process flows, MS Viso…aren’t these a second language to you?

All things said, this is a tremendously smart guy.  He may know more about the history of IBM to Lenovo, Service offering and capabilities in 100+ countries, our systems, and process then the whole team combined.  Could he possibly not know what a swim-lane was?  Or was it my communication?  Did I set expectation appropriately?  OR did I assume he knew what I meant? Did I assume this was his 100th development project and he knew what to do?  I am not going to answer :)

Most people know that you shouldn’t assume, but I want to remind you to not get lazy.  Don’t let the day-to-day, ‘easy’ projects fall through the cracks.  Keep your focus and give the same level of attention to every inititiative you’re assigned.

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you recover?

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