Technology is great when it works. I expect it to work exactly the way it was advertised all the time. How realistic is that? The gap between expectations and reality can be stressful.

I live in north central California in a fire prone area. As a safety precaution, the power company cuts power periodically. There was a brief power outage last night. When I turned my computer on this morning the following message appeared: “Alert power adapter has been disconnected. Please connect to a Dell 65 W AC adapter or greater for the best system performance’. The message is simple and clear, but my reaction wasn’t.

OMG! I’ve got so much to do today. I don’t have time to deal with a computer issue. I texted my tech person. Impatient, I asked a family member for help while waiting for a response. Then re-read the alert. After I thought about it the remedy was clear: unplug the computer from the power strip then plug it into the wall outlet.

Relationships are great when they work. Unlike technology, human relationships are much more complex. What might be considered a clear expectation could be misunderstood or misinterpreted. With technology numerical coding is key. With people you must factor in the numbers, words, tone and body language. Gender, race, sexual orientation and ethnicity need to be considered; talent comes in diverse minds and bodies. To increase work performance and reduce stress, express expectations and desired outcomes clearly, then actively listen for possible new or better ways to reach your ultimate result. In keeping with an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together.”