You need to avoid misunderstandings in your business dealings no matter what it takes. Mistakes can be corrected with a minimum amount of effort but misunderstandings can end up with somebody getting their feelings hurt or a bloody nose or even worse it could end up ruining a relationship.
The best thing to do when there is a misunderstanding is to get both sides of the issue and try to resolve it doing the minimum amount of damage to all parties. Granted there may be some give and take needed but nothing is worth destroying a relationship over!
Do whatever is necessary to resolve the issue. The best approach is to take the high road and be the peacemaker if at all possible.
Avoid calling in the big dogs because nobody wins except the lawyers if the issue ends in court.
The best tool to avoid misunderstandings is to get all agreements in writing. Eliminate the chance of somebody forgetting or misunderstanding what was agreed to in the verbal conversation.
Misunderstandings in the work place are generally caused by a change in the scope of work. Again, all changes need to be in writing!
One way to eliminate misunderstandings when giving instructions is to have the person receiving the instructions repeat verbatim what you want done. If they do not give a good description of what you want done then correct them until they understand completely.
To avoid somebody forgetting the instructions given and then getting into a confrontation because somebody dropped the ball; confirm your instructions in writing. You can do this with a memo, e-mail, texting or by faxing the instructions.
My experience has shown that you can eliminate ninety nine percent of misunderstanding by confirming all agreements in writing.
How many times have you had somebody tell you that old so and so told them to do something that you suspected was untrue? A lot of times people try to take advantage of a person’s poor memory. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
I was lucky in that my team knew my ethics and my approach to running a construction project. I made it a practice to never deviate from the Project Plans and Specifications unless I had an approved change order. If anybody said I told them to do something that was not approved my team knew that their statement was false.
Any time you make a commitment that involves money you need to put the agreement in writing. There were times when somebody would go into the office when I wasn’t there and claim that I had agreed to pay extra for additional work. My staff would ask to see the memo or documentation of that agreement and if they didn’t have it; the conversation was ended until they talked to me
Another good practice is to have all your field team leaders to have access to memo pads in case they have to issue an unsatisfactory work performance notice to somebody for unsatisfactory work. These notices should be signed by the team leader and the worker.
This practice will eliminate potential issues if you have to fire somebody. Written documentation is the best tool for resolving issues.
Incorporate the practice of confirming all your agreements in writing.