Do you remember playing the game “Telephone” when you were a kid? As I think back on my elementary school days, I recall so vividly the excitement in the room as we played with a bunch of people; and as the message was passed on in a whisper by each person, how the anticipation grew about what the final version was going to be. It never ceased to amaze me, how when the message was revealed, it was often radically different from the original word or phrase. I think that understanding people is a lot like that.
As an architect, I need to coordinate with many different people in order to bring together a building project. At times it is quite challenging trying to bring together the stakeholders to achieve a consensus on what direction to go in. On one of my projects, the contractor sent me this hysterical pictorial of a construction project as it is viewed by each member of the team.
I love this so much because it is a great illustration of how different people can view the same thing and understand it completely different. I once heard this definition which I think defines it perfectly…
“Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, my side, and the truth.” J. Michael Straczynski
The key to understanding people in every situation is seeing all three edges…meaning there is your side, their side and the truth. In business and in life, many times the objective or information that is passed on by a number of people, just like in the game of Telephone, becomes distorted in the process…The Message is diluted because of a lack of understanding.
If you are lacking in understanding here is a great prayer to pray to God that requires wisdom from James 1:5 (ESV) says:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
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