One of my friends is a consultant, who recently got a call to do a “rush” job, fixing a project that a previous consultant had done poorly. Because time was short, her client gave her only cursory instructions about what was wrong with the original job, and what he wanted done differently. The result was predictable: my friend did a lot of work in a very short time, definitely making the project better. But much of it still wasn’t really what the client wanted, who ended up spending even more time “fixing” the now ostensibly fixed project.
This is a classic example of what I call setting people up to fail. I see it all the time in advisory practices, particularly with employees. It comes in many variations, but the most common is when advisors don’t take the time to give an employee all the information they need to do a job right, although it can also result from unclear instructions as to what’s really expected, what the goal is, or how the work is eventually going to be used or applied.