The structure of
this book consists of just two parts, A and B.
Part A has eight
chapters covering such topics as Common Sense: Create a Common Performance
Language; The Common Enemy is Subjectivity; The Common Sense Point
is Clarity and Simplicity and includes descriptions of common sense scenarios.
Part A also focuses on identifying and retaining the right people. The point
is that if you recruit people to do work described only by fuzzy language, language
that they interpret in their own way, then you should not be surprised if their
work performance does not meet your expectations.
The author defines "fuzzy
communication" as "ANY performance related communication that can be interpreted
differently by different people." So,
included in Part A are a whole series of factual scenarios demonstrating
the results of using fuzzy communications. Here's one such wonderful example.
A True Story: (We join the scenario during the
boss's explanation to a brand new College Career Counselor of what the job 'really
New Counselor (NC): So, our company only gets paid based
on the student attending the college class just one time. After that we don't
Manager (M): It's not really that we don't care, but we
don't get paid for anything beyond that, so we can't spend more time on them than
whatever it takes to get them to that first class so they get their grant check.
NC: So, I'm not really working as a career counselor, which was
described in the hiring process. I'm a telemarketer just hounding them to get
to class so they can get their first grant check so we can get paid?
You might look at it that way, but 'Career Counselor' looks better on your resume
NC: So, is my job performance evaluation
based on how many people I get to attend class?
M: That's part
NC: What else is there?
M: The main part
is how I evaluate you as a team player.
NC: And what basis do
you use to evaluate that?
M: Whatever I feel like when it's time
to evaluate you.
NC: So, let's see if I have this correct: I
was hired as a career counselor, I'm receiving on-the-job-training as a telemarketer,
and I will be evaluated on my ability to suck-up to my manager?
We aren't going to get along are we?
The author concludes Part
A of his book by observing:
point of this book is not that you have to adopt the practices that are
used for examples, it's for you to use the principles in your life, both
professionally and personally."
Part B of the book is interesting
because it exactly mimics the chapters in Part A, with the same numbering
except with the suffix "B". These "B" chapters provide "How to" responses
to deal with, or better yet, avoid, the fuzziness-of-language described in Part A.
As the author explains it:
- Part A = Why do we need to replace subjectivity with
objectivity and establish a Common Performance Language?
- Part B = How
do we go about doing it?
This structure gives you the option to read
in any order you please. If a particular scenario in Part A leaves you wanting
to know how to practice it, go ahead and read the corresponding chapter in Part B.
If you prefer to focus on the examples, without the implementation detail, stay
in Part A."
6. Ibid, pp5-6
7. Ibid, p58
8. Ibid, pp3-4