No-one ever is to blame

So I’ve hired a design studio to come help me out on one of my biggest projects because I am falling behind, and I know them, and I know they can help. I mean I worked for them before I took this full-time role. I have a great call with one of the owners, and we scope out the project. Its pretty general — I need them to basically act as if they are on my team. But not everyone is local, and they won’t be full-time. They are to start on what I think is the smaller part of the project — it will help me get up-to-date, and will also help them get acclimated to the rest of the project.

A month in and I’ve seen nothing. A week later and its not looking good. I think, ok, maybe I didn’t communicate everything well, and we arrange a call and we discuss what I meant. A week later and its better, but its still not right. And now we are really behind, because without finishing the first part they can’t start the second part.

And we are all frustrated.

We have another meeting. We prioritize and go through each part in detail. I say, ask me questions rather than doing it wrong.

But its still wrong. And I think its my fault. And I realize that I always think its my fault when something goes wrong. WTF?

A few years ago someone on my team wasn’t performing, and was taking advantage of my giving her the benefit of the doubt. Yet I was worried that I hadn’t managed her expectations correctly; that somehow, it was my fault she wasn’t getting things done.

And its happened with one of my managers too. No matter what I did, it wasn’t right. Even though she hadn’t adequately articulated what she expected; even though at times I did exactly what she’d said, I was still not doing whatever she wanted correctly, and I thought it was my fault.

In all cases I was doing my job well. Yet I doubted myself. Even now, even now knowing that I prepped the design studio to my best knowledge, that I answered every question, prepared as many materials as possible, even now that I realize that they aren’t doing the job they promised, even now I still, in the back of my mind, wonder what I did wrong.

It has to stop.