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Soon and Some


A supervisor of mine once called me into their office to give me some feedback. They said my lack of clarity in communicating with upper management was confusing and frustrating. They needed more specific updates on how my responsibilities were being handled. It was not a fun conversation. While their tone was one of severe disappointment and very judgmental the feedback needed to happen. This is just another story of how "Karl learns things the hard way" because...

"Soon is not a time and some is not a number." -Alan Weiss

There are so many changes in our lives each day that it's no wonder our clarity around what we're doing fades quickly. This lack of clarity has one antidote...clear consistent communication!

Vagueness is the destroyer of action. It leads to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. It contributes to a lack of urgency, delays, and missed opportunities. You have no doubt felt this as a recipient. You may have dealt with the consequences with your teams. Channel your feelings around those experiences as we remind ourselves of what we can do to lead with more clarity!

  • Be specific when setting goals and deadlines
  • Use precise terms, dates, and numerical priorities to get alignment on expectations for all team members
  • Use concrete terms to define and track progress, review performance, and determine appropriate adjustments
  • Decide on a timeline with objectives to focus and guide efforts for the desired outcome and impacts
  • Ask: Who is going to do what by when and how will we follow up?

Everyone is responsible for effective leadership. When we all communicate with the most clarity in the moment we inspire the trust and confidence needed to achieve what we want together. Clear expectations engage team members to connect with their top contributions.

Finally, there will always be times when you may not be able to provide the clarity you would like. In these situations, be honest. Be clear about what you can and cannot share. Your authenticity in these moments will support the environment you want others to emulate. Model the way and remember...

"Being clear is kind." -Brene' Brown

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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