Lessons from a Bad Haircut

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I got a lousy haircut the other day. I’m not happy. And, one of the things I’m least happy with is the fact that I can trace one comment I made to what ended up happening. I still hold the hair stylist responsible, because she’s the expert. I left something unspoken related to the comment, so what I said in total was inconsistent. She should have asked the questions to get it right. She should know that lay people use industry terms incorrectly and she should be restating what she is hearing to make sure her understanding is right. She’s the expert.

It’s made me think about how I do my job. I’m the expert. I do ask questions. I do present information in multiple formats—diagrams and words—to make sure I convey what I heard and get it right. Still, reminders can be good. My lousy hair cut reminded me: even when a person appears to know what they’re saying, they may not. Or, they do know; their use of language is just different from mine.

Next time I’m tempted to accept an answer on face value, I’m going to remember my bad haircut. Because, while my hair will grow back in 6 weeks, bad software can last for years.

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