Madeline has spent the last 18 months working on a big client project. It has been a steep learning curve. She is gaining a more in-depth knowledge about the client and the industry. She feels good about mastering a new skill. She is having fun at times, and in the busy hectic times, she is exhausted and can’t believe she accepted the invitation to be part of this project.

About 6 months in, she had a misunderstanding with the lead partner on the project. It threw her off her game. She started to second guess herself, what she was learning, and how she was advising the client. She lost time repairing her relationship with the partner and overthinking her actions. When sharing the experience with her mentor, John asked her some good questions. And she realized there were some questions she could, and should, have asked at the start. How had she not asked more clarifying questions??

We’ve all been in situations where we play Monday morning quarterback. We think through what we could have done, what we should have said, what we would have done differently. As long we don’t over think and over remunerate, this is a good learning process.

When starting a new project, a new job, or with a new client, consider the questions you may ask to avoid miscommunication down the road, as Madeline did. These conversations – and there will be several of them – ensure that you meet everyone’s expectations, including your own.

I recommend approaching these conversations from an Emergenetics perspective to be inclusive of all points of view. Emergenetics is a powerful psychometric assessment used to better understand your own strengths and to improve communication and productivity within teams. Looking through the 7 Emergenetics thinking and behavioral attributes listed below, you will uncover an understanding of not only your own expectations, but others’ as well.


What research do we need to ensure the project is successful?

How am I adding value?


How will we implement this new project?

How will this impact my other projects? Will I still be responsible for those deliverables?


Who else will be involved with the project?

Who is my resource for my other projects if my focus shifts?


What other ideas have you had?

How does my piece of the project connect to the greater vision?


Will I have the opportunity to hear what other partners and the client need and want with this project?

Will I have time to talk things through with others?


What do others want from this project? How can I help get everyone on the same page?

What can I do to be sure we are an enormous success with the partners and the client?


What can I do to keep us focused and moving the project forward?

How will this project continue to evolve as we progress?

While Madeline was excited to be invited and involved with this new project, she missed an opportunity upfront to gain clarity and understanding. This would have avoided the miscommunication with her partner. Not only she would have learned what was expected of her, but she also would have gained clarity of her own expectations for the project and those involved. What did she want from this opportunity?

Playing Monday morning QB, Madeline wished she had asked about her current projects. Spending 18 months on this big project would mean she had less time to focus on her current work. Was she expected to maintain focus on both? At the beginning she really struggled with priorities and kept everything on her desk. After the miscommunication with the lead partner, she realized she had to delegate and move some other projects off her desk.

Now, Madeline wants to know what is going to happen at the end of 18 months – will she have to secure new projects for herself? Given the amount of focus, and plenty of long days, how will she be compensated? Is she still being considered for that promotion?

What opportunities are in front of you that you need to plan for? Who do you need to have conversations with (yes there will be more than one conversation)? Before you say yes, what do you need to consider? This will help you, and those around you, plan more strategically. And avoid miscommunication.