Category Archives: Soft Skills

What’s in a name?

Names are important in helping us to be clear about what we mean. And the same the other way around. If we wish to convey some piece of information the choice of words is one factor that determines The success or failure of our communication. 

This is easier said than done. Many other factors have to be considered  in tandem. The listener and the speaker may attach different meanings to a particular word. The context of the moment and place of the interaction is another factor. The mood of each person may also change by the minute. Body language may be correctly or incorrectly interpreted. 

IMG 1797 SSlookLadderOnGroud

What does this mean? Is the guy thinking deeply? Puzzled? Starting to get a heart attack? Wondering what the ladder is doing on the ground? Angry with the ladder?

 

This is a topic that we can revisit many more times with further insight. 

Egg and it’s strange uses

The humble egg. Two things come to my mind.

One is why we seem to assume it’s a hens egg or a chicken egg when we hear the word “egg”. Without any other context, the chicken in the assumed mother of the “egg”. This contextual meaning is food ( pun intended ) for another post. 

Second, is, the arguments we still have on whether the egg is deserving of the same kind of consideration as the hatched fully formed creature, be it chicken or human. It is a very contentious argument and can get very convoluted since the discussion is frequently emotional and both sides tends to dredge up “scientific proofs” as well as moral, ethical and religious literature.

I shall leave you with the questions, and not pontificate on this. I am using this to illustrate the in the realm of work, in business analysis or in project management, you are likely going to meet similar types of issues regarding the definition of things, and the very difficult to define or explain situations, existing or required. An example is when someone can happily describe what he does at work, but finds it difficult to connect them all up into a nice picture.

This is a reason why I am careful not to give new analysts or project managers the impression that “it’s all in the book”. 

 

 

Assumed likes and dislikes from a persons background

I’m sitting in the “open air” part of a pub. There’s a roof above bit no walls once in a while the waiter or waitress comes over and aske if I like to move to another table inside. I said no. If it gets too windy, I move myself to s table just out of range, they think I’m crazy. But I really enjoy the rain. And the wind on my face.

Reminds me of my first visit to the US. To Lafayette. One of the folks I met at the company I visited said he had never been out of the state. He described the wonderful feeling of standing in wide open fields as a storm builds up. Today I’m reminded about this as I sit just out of reach of the rain. And I realize how impossible it is to describe a feeling. When we meet with and try to capture a “requirement”, how often we are listening to attempts to describe feeling. And how inadequate the words are. In personal lives too, how often do we encounter expressions of feeling and how often facts?

Feelings are the powerful influencers of our lives. Not facts.

Liu Bei and Zhugeliang, a story that illustrates a potential reason for not accepting a advisory position

There’s an interesting story of how Liu Bei went to look for Zhugeliang three times to beg him to be his advisor. This was an aspiring emperor, who was already in command of a force going to what was a semi recluse (though with a reputation as a master strategist).

This story is worth studying. In today’s world where advise and knowledge is available for a price. What did Liu Bei do to finally get Zhugeliang to help him finally achieve the position of emperor of China? To bring peace under heaven? I’m not going to tell on this post because I want you to do some research yourself.

The point I wish to make here is the fact that while most knowledge can be bought, or obtained for free as on the internet, there are some essential insights that can only be achieved through long experience. The purpose of a trainer or master trainer is to help you shortcut the length of time it normally takes (it can also take you more than a life time, if you do not get exposed to the range of experiences needed). 

Even then, the master trainer knows that there are certain conditions necessary for a learner to be able to grasp the message. This is especially true in sports and particularly in the martial arts. You can tell someone to match an incoming force with exactly the same force, and maintain contact, in order to control the opponent and redirect the force. Sounds logical, and is scientific. But it is hardly something a novice is able to perform. In such situations, a trainer may not bother to try to teach this part of the “syllabus” even if asked by the learner. It will be a sheer waste of time and energy, and likely do harm, by giving the learner a false sense of achievement when there is non. 

In the earlier mentioned story from the Chinese classics, the reason for a refusal to assist was due to the sought adviser wanting to make sure that his advice is going to be followed, and that there was a moral/ethical base to the person that he was going to help. Zhugeliang was/is considered one of the greatest strategists al all times.

Just for those who wish to delve into the story of Liu Bei and Zhugeliang, you can check out books or reference to “Romance of the Three Kingdoms “ one of the four evergreen classics in China.