Twice in the past two weeks at work, I've been on the receiving end of a not-so-cheery phone call or e-mail from someone senior to me because of something I put out in an e-mail.
In one case, it was clearly my fault. I attached an old set of instructions to something that I just didn't bother to check; as a result, the e-mail contained incorrect information about a procedure (trust me, we're not talking life or death here, but still, I'll admit that bad information has no proper place and I certainly deserved the 'correctional instruction' I received).
In the second case, I sent out a query about something in which I indicated that someone far higher than me in the hierarchy was interested in seeing a presentation, if it could be arranged. All I meant was that the person was interested in it if it could be done, certainly not that it was some sort of sudden imperative.
But both cases had a common thread -- the recipient got wildly animated and brought many others into the fray to clarify where there had been confusion. In the first case, I had my posterior chewed by a Commodore (that's just below an Admiral), and in the second case, I just got a series of very confused phone calls and e-mails from someone who I had never met and, to be frank, never needed to be involved in the situation in the first place.
I know the term "common sense" is a loaded and dangerous one, so I'll just say this -- If I got an e-mail or phone call from someone with information that I believe to be incorrect, misleading, or unclear, what I would do -- hold onto your hats here -- is get back to the person who sent it for clarification.
I might just start by asking questions like, "Are you sure that's the right way to do this? I've got something that indicates otherwise" or, in the other case, "Is this just a 'nice-to-have' sort of request, or am I being mandated to fly halfway across the world to do this?"
If either case had been handled that way -- the one where I really was at fault, or the one where I was just a bit too ambiguous in the way I worded something -- no one would have ever gotten 'spun up.'
The entire thing could have been resolved at the lowest possible level with one part 'benefit of the doubt' and one part 'common sense.'
Yes, I said it -- to me, that's common sense.
And lest this sound like a "Dear Diary" entry, it's not -- my point here is just to remind anyone reading this not to get spun up the next time they perceive that someone you work with has put out bad info. At least go to the source first and check!
** Oh, and speaking of the 'benefit of the doubt' just want to use this forum to put out to friends that my PC is down hard right now. I have no access to either e-mail account from this network so if you've sent me a yahoo or other e-mail in the past couple weeks, that's why you ain't heard back...and thanks in advance for the lack of a spin-up!**