Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bring an umbrella and unasked questions

Vancouver Umbrella Shop in Richmond, BC, Canada
"What's the weather like this time of year?" I asked the hotel attendant over the phone.

"Bring an umbrella," she replied.

Whether she knew it or not, the polite hotel front desk clerk in Vancouver answered my unasked question. In reality I knew what the temperatures were like because I had checked. What I really wanted to know was what she answered, and I didn't even have to ask.

I am traveling tomorrow to Vancouver to speak at a conference on Friday, then making my way down to the coast west of Portland to conduct some training for a client (with a stop at the Pike Place Market Starbucks in Seattle along the way of course).

So, I had done my homework in terms of weather conditions, travel plans, etc. But, when I called to confirm some details with my hotel in Vancouver, what I really wanted to know is how much does it rain there? I had been to Seattle a few times the past several years but first time in Vancouver. While it is just north of Seattle, I was also aware of how that could make a huge difference in weather conditions (having just learned that firsthand in my recent trip to Alaska -- Anchorage was above freezing while Wasilla, which is only 50 miles NE of Anchorage, was closer to single digits).

What's the point to all of this? I simply wonder how many times virtual school administrators fail to answer the unasked questions from their parents. How many times do they assume that what the parents want to know is exactly what they asked? (In reality, a good listener will be able to discern if there is an unasked question that needs to be answered)

Case in point -- the Agora Cyber Charter School is conducting a Board Meeting tomorrow night. In light of the recent layoffs it should prove to be an interesting one. If the leadership is not careful, they will allow many unasked questions to go unanswered.

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