This post is something that has been bothering me for a quite sometime. Leaders should never do this, but from time to time it happens. If you get requests for stuff, work as a business person or just live in this world; you probably have heard of the Bring Me A Rock exercise. If not, here is a simple definition. When asked to go out and do something that is unclear, very limited requirements or basically a totally vague request: you go forth and attempt to get it done. Once you return, all happy that you did it, you are told – well, nice effort, but that is not what I was thinking about. Then you get a few more requirements and some suggestions; off you go again, just to find out later that – not right again. Well, that is the basics of the Bring Me A Rock. First time, you showed up with wrong color or size, next up type of rock and so on. There are endless choices…
I would like to replace this exercise with something a bit more easier! I want to replace this with Dig Me A Hole. There are a couple of reasons for changing it. First, when you hear Dig Me A Hole – right of the bat there needs to be some parameters. How deep? How wide? How long? This way here, the person requesting such activity can step up to the plate and provide the complete requirements. Later on, this can be changed to simple things that are common to many of us. For those that were in the military – you have dig me a fox hole – well, everyone that has dug a fox hole – pretty much knows what to do and how to do it from that simple request (2 feet wide – up to the armpits of the tallest person and about 4 feet long). Dig me a trench for laying sprinkler pipe or plumbing pipe – all you need to know is what type of pipe and where (to and from). And for that really odd request – bury a 50 gallon barrel (you can measure one and make it happen). Either way – it definitely has an easier feel to it than Bring Me A Rock.
When I confront the Bring Me A Rock – the requesting folks, usually get a little upset that I said it. I guess we all think our requests are totally clear to the person that is delivering the end result. Well, that definitely is not always the case. I don’t know how many times this has happened to me or to folks that I know. It is extremely difficult when you think you did a pretty solid job of getting to the end result to find out that the end result has either moved, changed or disappeared. If we change the exercise to Dig Me A Hole – then maybe no one will get offended. The requester will realize that they have to provide some parameters! The doer will need to ask questions to help develop what they are going to do. Either way – by changing the exercise name – we refresh ourselves as both the requester and the doer – to insure before anyone runs off that we are on the same page. The requester knows what they are requesting, the person doing the work understands and the work gets done. If the person doing the work – does not feel they understand what is being asked – get the answers before running about doing what you think is needed – it could be a Bring Me A Rock exercise (and that is just frustrating).
Make sure you know what you are requesting or being requested to do, before jumping into an exercise. Truly better to only spend the right amount of time on getting stuff done!