Friday Shorts – Seek First to Understand

I came across this image below when I was doing some reading on Franklin Covey and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The tire swing meme as it is sometimes called is a great example of how easily our words can be misinterpreted or misunderstood.  

So, Habit 5 in The 7 Habits is ‘Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood’ and this image just fits. There is clearly something lost in translation between what the customer wanted and how others interpreted that. 

And since I work in Analytics, I see where we run the risk of quickly jumping to ‘oh, the user wants a XYZ’ and providing a solution that leaves the customer shaking their head. What the user really wants is to know whether this or that happened, or whether this is better or worse than it was last week. Or whatever story the user is trying to tell. Or, we ask a 1-dimensional question (why isn’t this working) and we get a 1-dimensional answer that doesn’t really help. Adding details and context and descriptions can help ‘paint the picture’ of what we are really asking. 

And you know, this doesn’t just apply to work teams and how you interact with your users and customers. Personal relationships with family and friends can also benefit from the ‘Seek First to Understand’ Habit!  

Just sharing my 2 cents, have a good weekend!