I love getting post. The quickest way to endear me to you is by sending me something in the mail. But late last month I opened my mailbox to one of the most universally dreaded pieces of post – a jury summons.
No one wants to get called for jury duty.
It is inconvenient, it puts your schedule in a tizzy, and it takes up a good part of your day. Here, like most counties, we check the courthouse website the evening before to find out our fate. Five o’clock arrived on the appointed day and I logged in crossing my fingers that I would be free. Of course I wasn’t, so I rescheduled appointments and packed my work gear hoping that it would be quick and easy.
The next morning began a weeklong frustrating, but interesting learning experience. It started by reporting to the jury room at 9:00 a.m. and being told shortly thereafter to leave for lunch and come back at 1:45 p.m. This was the first and sadly not the last time that the process felt like we were being told to hurry somewhere and then wait for an extended period.
When wearing my lawyer-hat, I rarely deal with litigation. But I do understand the judge and the attorneys need to discuss (AKA argue) items that potential and actual jurors cannot hear.
However in this case, the minor waypoints that the judge gave us were never being followed. For example, one day we were told to report at 9:45 AM. We then sat there for two hours without anyone speaking to us and then were told by the court attendant to leave for lunch. The collective frustration of the group rose quickly. Do you know why?
Because frustration arises when we don’t know what’s going on and what’s coming next.
This process left lots of time to think and I started wondering what the solution might look like. Of course, it was simple – a roadmap.
Roadmaps allow us to understand where we are going and why.
As business owners, roadmaps allow us to show our customers the path so they don’t feel like all they are doing is hurrying to give you something and then waiting for an undetermined time until the next time you ask them for something. Because of this the roadmap we create needs to be accurate. It should tell them:
- what to expect from the process
- next steps
- waiting periods
- if third parties can impact the process
Will our roadmap be perfect every time? Probably not, twist and turns will arise. But a roadmap will make the process will seem less strange and arbitrary because everyone will be on the same page about where you are going and what it is going to take to get there.
So let me know, what’s the one roadmap you should be creating for your business? And since I’m still in commiseration mode, I’d love to hear your worst jury duty experience.