In my last entry I described Lisa as a colleague who is driving me a little nutty (see Building a Human Database). I laid out some of the data I have about her background and my observations of her behavior. This week, we want to “pull the thread” through the data  and the situation to develop a new strategy for our own thinking and actions. Here’s how it goes…

No matter how much data we have and how long you know someone, we are always making assumptions about why they do what they do. The more data you have, the more grounded your assumptions and the better your ideas for intervention. The three questions that create a broad umbrella are:

  1. What do I know about Lisa’s background that can help me understand how she thinks, feels, and acts?
  2. What patterns of behavior can I identify that will help me gain access, attention, engagement, etc.?
  3. What is important to Lisa?

Start with the data and move from fact to story.

Fact Set #1:  Lisa’s father is a surgeon; and, she received her MBA from Harvard. She always states that the work can be better. Story #1: Lisa came from a high performing family and is either in a perfection-driven mode or an accomplishment-driven life. She stimulates herself by seeing the performance gap rather than the accomplishment.

Fact Set #2: Lisa has a BA in Psychology and an MBA from Harvard. She has had roles in five or six companies and worked in the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, and Singapore. Story #2: Lisa has a wealth of knowledge and experience–far broader than mine.

Fact Set #3: We have worked on six projects now. She has delivered as agreed on each assignment. She is very engaging with clients. I am proud to be associated with her. Story #3: She is a trustworthy partner on consulting assignments.

But she drives me crazy! In those moments when we are working intently to get the job done or thinking broadly about new work, I am annoyed by by attitude and work too hard to stay in a constructive conversation.

What would you do? I’ll share some of my  ideas next entry.

Let me know what you think!