While flipping through some old papers the day I saw this maxim scribbled down on a piece of paper. This maxim has proven true for many. there is a high likelihood that folks with a military background have heard it somewhere along the way.
Success equals preparation meeting opportunity.
This concept is, also sometime said as:
Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Any organization that designs a system (defined more broadly here than just information systems) will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.
–“How Do Committees Invent?”, Melvin E. Conway, 1968
If you are busy formulating your own response in your head, you cannot possibly be fully hearing or understanding what the person is saying. You are more likely to make mistaken assumptions about what they are trying to say, which makes your arguments weaker and less relevant. If you had listened to understand first, then you would know how to more appropriately and powerfully respond.
Ultimately, it is each consultant’s responsibility to acquire what they need to be successful in meeting the customer’s needs.
This is not to say that the consultant needs to do everything themselves. However, they are responsible to do whatever it takes to acquire the resources may need to deliver for the customer. If that, means making late-night phone calls, repetitive phone calls, follow-up emails, tracking somebody down the hall for an impromptu meeting, that is what you must do. In the end, regardless of the reason, you are responsible to ensure that you deliver a quality product to the customer, on time, on schedule and on budget.