The Importance of Verification Reflecting What You Were Instructed To Do

Just how vital is it reflecting what we THOUGHT was said? For one it cuts out the whole he said she said dance that everyone “loves” to play. It also gives both parties a piece of mind that everything that has been discussed in a certain situation has been agreed upon by everyone involved. In fact, it is critical, and here is why.

Recently I was doing a job for a customer and I ran into a lot of questions. I jotted them down and sent an email with everything I had questions about. When the customer was ready to answer, we spoke over the phone. After the phone call, I sent a verification email stating what we had discussed and the route I was taking with the project. This was something at least both parties had to show exactly what was going on and to make sure we were both on the same page. If something did go wrong, at least from my stand point, I could have a leg to stand on, that the other party involved had knowledge of why things were done a certain way.

As I got deeper and deeper into the project, I ended up having more questions, which led to more phone calls. All of this was fine; however after the first initial email I sent with my first questions, I failed to send any others. I continued on with what I was told to do after each phone call. I must have had direction from at least 4 different phone calls. Trust me there was a lot more interaction with the customer than one could keep up with in a day.

The job turned into a fiasco, and as I had mentioned before, it turned into a he said she said and I had no leg to stand on with why I did things the way I did. I knew that what I had done was exactly as I had been instructed by the architect, engineer, and builder. But guess what? None of that mattered. I did everything correctly, except for the simple reflection email confirming what I was instructed to do by all parties involved. All I had to back up what I was told to do was the drawing in my notes.

Sure, there is the simple fact that I did what I was instructed to. Besides, why would I lie about it? But in this game, the customer is always right unless you have that written proof that shows what you did is what they had specifically asked for. This is probably just one example of many countless others that not only myself, but many of you as well, kick yourself for not keeping a written record of things. It may seem archaic and pointless at the time, but it will save your skin when you need it.


Now this doesn’t have to just apply to the workplace. This can apply to personal life as well. A great example of this would be buying something from someone you don’t even know. Maybe you bought a car off Craigslist. The buyer swears up and down that there is nothing wrong with it. You take the seller at their word and buy the car with no written guarantee. You take it home, start driving it and what do you know, the transmission goes out. Now what do you do? You can’t take it back to the seller because you have already sealed the deal. If only you would have gotten a written guarantee that there was nothing wrong with the car, you might be able to take it back to the seller and at the very least request that they help get it fixed.

I know that this happens more often than not, it’s in human nature to be trusting at first. Yet when it comes right down to it, it’s also in human nature to be deceptive. People need to be very careful on how they handle things that will affect them in the long run. I would like to think that I have learned my lesson from this. However, as I just stated, you want to start out a relationship with trust or at least hoping you can trust someone to do their part in any given relationship. Without trust, any relationship will fail.

How do you feel about this? Any experiences to share?

Zach Failing – Design Professional

Gould Design Inc.