I have a colleague at O’Reilly who is quite determined in her quest to resolve ambiguity, whether it’s getting clear about roles, goals, or marketing messages. But the thing that makes her unusual—and quite effective—is that her driving desire for clarity doesn’t override her willingness and ability to change course quickly when the situation changes. She doesn’t hang onto what was and try to force the situation back into that state; she lets go and begins from where things are now. And that makes her an excellent problem-solver, because she is always solving the problem as it is now, not as it was a week ago, a day ago, or, far too often, just a few hours ago.
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I try to be as clear and consistent as I can with Wolfie. Any indecision on my part leads to indecision (and an open door for unwanted behavior) on his. Sometimes it's hard to do. One has to let go of self-doubt and strive for consistency. I can't think: "I must be doing something wrong, since he's not doing what I am asking him to do." The truth is that if I always use the same cues and have the same expectations of him, every time, eventually we'll come to understand each other. Or at least he'll come to understand me.