What You Don’t Understand Always Seems Simple

Most people have many opinions on the way things should be. They ask questions like, “why can’t it be like this?” “Why aren’t we able to do that?” “Can’t they deliver it to me like this?” It is a great thing to ask questions, everyone has an opinion. In fact, this kind of thinking is what makes the world better. It pushes us to change, try new things, and improve. But there is a fine line between asking questions and assuming the change is easy to accomplish.

At work, we observe sales people who don’t understand the difficulties with technology limitations yet, technology people are bewildered as to why sales people struggle selling technologically superior products. Customers wonder why products aren’t customizable to their exact likings and, customer service people are at a loss to understand why customers don’t follow directions. Again, all good stuff.

But when the conversation turns to asking “how tough can it really be?” then a line has been crossed. Wanting something different is one thing, passing judgment on how easy it is to accomplish is another. It moves from a simple want to an evaluation of a person’s or organization’s capabilities and, it is usually based on little fact or understanding. This is the classic case of what you don’t understand always seems simpler than it really is.

When your wants and assumptions are directed towards things outside your sphere of influence then, no hurt, no foul; but, when you do the same thing inside your sphere of influence where your opinions carry some weight, you can hurt others, make them defensive, and put them in a difficult position. You can do all of this with little to no true understanding of the situation, limitations, or capabilities. It’s not fair and not right.

A better way to move your desires closer to becoming a reality is to be open-minded and ask questions about what you don’t understand. If after you have asked for something different and are told it is not possible then make it known you really don’t know anything about the environment or situation but, would love to learn more about it. This will give you the opportunity to make sure your wants are understood and clarify anything that is incorrect with the other person’s understanding. It also gives you the opportunity to brainstorm about what it would take to make what you want happen. By doing this you become a partner and not a pesky opponent. It may not result in you getting your want but it will put you top of mind if there ever is an opportunity to make it happen.