Google Maps. Voice Control. 330 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC. Drive.
Three hours later Google Maps tells me I’m there. In the middle of a busy street! No parking anywhere to be seen. Clearly, I am not there! And I might not actually get there for another hour because I don’t know where to park and I have no navigator to help me.
Had I selected Transit instead of Drive, Google would have shown me how to walk out of my office, gotten me to various trains and buses, and left me walking in the front door of my destination. Arrived and ready.
Why doesn’t that happen with Drive? Why doesn’t Google leave me in a parking space or garage with walking or transit directions to my real destination? Why would I want to be left in the middle of a street in New York City?
Are you leaving your customers, employees, and co-workers stranded in the middle of the road, undeniably short of their destinations?
We had a sleeper couch delivered to our house a few weeks ago. The existing love seat needed to go downstairs. We knew exactly where we wanted it to go and, while it was much lighter than the sleeper couch, we were eager to have a couple of big, strong guys take it down the stairs for us.
No way! The notice confirming delivery made it perfectly clear that the delivery crew would touch nothing other than the new couch. (Oh, except for the new wood floor they gouged deeply when the sleeper mechanism was untied.)
Had we been unable to move that love seat, it would have been left in the middle of the room – without a parking place – one flight short of any useful destination! Why would anyone want to do this to their customers?
Being left in the middle of the road doesn’t just apply to cars and couches. A coaching client of mine expressed frustration that his vice president still hadn’t gotten back to him regarding an important proposal he had submitted. “What did you ask for?” He had asked her to review it. “But what do you need?” He needed approval to proceed. “So why didn’t you ask for approval?”
The next day he asked for approval and she said yes – four weeks after he asked her to review it. Asking for a review is like leaving someone stuck in the middle of the road. Overwhelmed by all the traffic. Without a parking spot. With no simple way to “be done.” On the other hand, asking for approval provides a tangible, measurable, useful destination.
Don’t leave your customers wishing you had taken that one last step to get them to their destination.
And don’t leave employees and co-workers driving around your block of vague requests without a parking spot! Be specific! Establish clear destinations! It’s impossible to race across the finish line if you don’t know where it is.
For those who haven’t been following me, here is the good news: there are only six types of “parking spots”! If you have been following me, you already know what they are, right? Please tell me this is true!
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com on September 26th, 2016.