May 7, 2008

Read The Room

Yesterday, I touched on the age old issue of ‘content’. Today, it’s ‘context’ – the circumstance, situation, and environment that gives perspective to any content. Without context, content is noise. Content alone is meaningless – it’s data at best. But when you put in to context, it begins to take shape and significance.

We’ve all used the phrase “out of context” ad nauseum. But stop and think about that, the next time you use it. Take that issue, content and give it a new backdrop and it makes no sense. But we try and force it every day. We are in business situations where someone on the team is in the wrong chair, or worse yet – they’re the wrong person entirely!

It's important to note, that new perspective can often turn a seemingly bad idea into brilliance. Sometimes we're too close to it and it takes someone out of our context to make a simple suggestion. We must be aware when we’re doing that verses forcing a situation.

Maybe just me, but I don’t find a need to wear a bowtie or headband, to some that works within their context.

I’ve had the pleasure of building a few teams filled with wonderful people who were walking in to a new environment. These are people coming from all over the country to converge on an idea in a new place that few have ever been. The analogy I use is if you’re invited to a backyard barbecue and the only person you know is the person who invited you. How will you act? Will you pretend you’ve know these people all your life? Or will you introduce yourself and be aware of the situation? This may not the time to do a belly flop in the pool.

In my experience with new teams in new places, we had to get to know each other as a team - our new context. We then had to get to know our new customer base – a much bigger backyard barbecue.

Bring your content, your ideas, yourself to new environments but pay close attention to the context and watch as you build new relationships.

Some of my dearest friends are people I have met in circumstances that were not my creation or comfort zone. I’m sure you can relate.

Content may be king, but Context is the glue.

Tomorrow: Community


© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
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