★ Thought for the Day – Understanding is a Three-Edged Sword ★

200298344-001Do 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 truthIn 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.”

God bless!


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★ Thought for the Day – Are you a Good Listener? ★

If you asked someone close to you if you were a good listener, what do you think they would they say? Do you think you are a Good Listener?  Stephen Covey made a profound statement about this, he said:

22 - Daily Dependence - Stephen Covey - Most People do not listen with the intent to understand_ they listen with the intent to reply.jpg
“Most People do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Part of any good relationship is being a good listener; the same applies for a projects.  I have always likened Architecture to being less about building buildings and more about listening to, and understanding the different agendas of the project stakeholders.  A truly successful architect, is one that can create beautiful spaces suitable for human habitation while balancing the owner’s need for a building along with the various consultant’s desire to accomplish their individual piece of the project in the shortest possible way (which typically is not aesthetically pleasing) with the contractor’s desire to make the most amount of money in the cheapest way possible.  In addition doing this while defending and maintaining the original design intent as value (or “de-value”) engineering suggestions from both the end users and contractor threaten the integrity of the design.

Every project is like constructing a puzzle, but without the picture on the box…You need to listen to all the stakeholders in order to understand how to achieve the project.  I read this once and thought this nailed it…

“Look for a good listener and you’ll find a good architect.” Unknown 

Regardless of your vocation, this Thought for the Day is for you too.  Start today with the purposeful intention to listen to other to understand and not just respond with your viewpoint.

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★ Thought of the Day – What are You the Architect of? ★ 

I once read this definition of Architecture:

“By the simplest definition, architecture is the design of buildings, executed by architects.  However, it is more.  It is the expression of thought in building.  It is not simply construction, the piling of stones or the spanning of spaces with steel girders.  It is the intelligent creation of forms and spaces that in themselves express an idea.” 

As an Architect by vocation, this quote beautifully captures what an architect is.  Ultimately though, before any piling of stones or spanning of girders, a tremendous amount of decisions and problem solving must occur.  In both architecture and in life, I believe to be successful, these skills are paramount.

And that leads us to, what are you the Architect of?  Life is a series of decisions that we have to make, so….what choices are you making in your career and in your personal life?

On A Minute with Maxwell,  the Word was “Choices.”  John Maxwell quoted one of my favorite John Wooden quotes….

“There is a choice that you have to make, in everything you do. So keep in the mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”
“There is a choice that you have to make, in everything you do. So keep in the mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”

“In the end, the choice you make makes you.”  I love that so much!  That goes far deeper than just what career direction to go in or where you spend your 40+ hours a week….it really speaks of the level of integrity that you will walk out in your everyday life.  And it puts the responsibility right where it belongs…on me.  And on you.  What choices are you making today that down the road you will be thankful for?  Are there choices you are making that will become regrets, or areas that you are compromising in?  I think that for many people this quote is unfortunately all to true…

 

“I’m the Architect of my own disaster.”

I would like to flip it around and look at it this way…that “I’m the Architect of my own success”….Each one of us has the power to choose a life marked by integrity and honesty, but of course just like in Architecture, you have to be intelligent in what decisions you make.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.  I will close with final quote…

“The choices we make, almost always determine the level of success we have.”  John Maxwell