Be vague. Be very vague.

People respond to stressful situations at their level of basic training.

They do not rise to the occasion.  What appears to be "rising to the occasion" is how the untrained view the well-trained when the poop hits the air circulator and it turns out that Mr. Well-Trained has been operating at a power-conservation level all this time.

This goes for emergency situations.  Firearms training.  It also goes for basic moral fiber, as revealed in the everyday work world.

I work with people whose response to stress (which turns out to be anything that they did not initiate knowing they could control it) is to become vague.

As a purchasing agent, I know what this look like:  department heads give me the least meaningful information and make the most egregious assumptions.

I don't work in your department.  I don't work with your equipment.  I don't know the operating parameters.  I did not engineer this project for the last eight months.  So when you bring me a little slip of paper (oh yes -- the paper size is in direct proportion to the quantity of hard information and in reciprocal relation to the degree of requester's stress) that says,
             'Price on CBN stones & holder DBL length (2x4") 5.709" ID' 
I have no idea (as I am pretty sure you haven't either, dear reader) what you are talking about.

So I basically have to both psychoanalyze the requester, and re-engineer the whole thing, and come up with a recommendation for something that's way out of my area of expertise.

See?  If anything goes wrong, blame Purchasing!

Being bad at coming up with information is balanced by being really good at casting blame in the after-action reports.

Time to wave the flag.  (Not the flag of surrender.)

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