We all tend to perceive the world through the lens of our own style. How we interpret our experiences, the things that we see and hear, is influenced by our unique style. As the difference between the styles of two individuals move further apart, the words they use and the interpretation of those words take on different meanings. We each interpret the words and actions of others differently. The potential for misunderstanding increases. What is "cutting edge" and exciting to one person may seem threatening and full of risk to another. An Explorer, trying to sell an idea to a group of Developers by emphasizing the new and unique features of that idea, might do better by showing how the idea builds on tried and true traditions. We enhance communication when dealing with problem solving or change management situations when we understand our own style, and then consider carefully how our audience may receive our natural approach, based on their style preferences. As an audience member, we can increase our understanding of any communication by first considering the style of the messenger and the message in terms of what the person actually said, even when it contrasts with our own preferences and expectations.
Phil has a strong preference for the Developer style. He is also Task focused and prefers to process Internally. His written material tends to be well thought out and carefully crafted to present a logical approach to the topic under consideration. He offers solutions that will minimize risk and maximize the chances of success. Philipa finds it difficult to read any of Phil's reports. Not only does she find them dull, but, she believes he lacks vision and disregards the needs of the individuals involved. Whenever they have a discussion, they both walk away wondering what the other was talking about. It is almost as if they spoke different languages. They have just been assigned to the same team and are dreading the experience. One of the first activities of the team was responding to VIEW. After the debriefing of their results, both Phil and Philipa began to understand each other's points of view. While Philipa still found Phil's writing somewhat dull, she also was able to appreciate the depth of his thinking and the meticulous manner in which he presented material. When assigned to work together she is now willing to give Phil time to process his ideas before meeting. On the other hand, Phil is more receptive to allowing her opportunities to talk things through when their meetings finally get underway. While we might never expect true love (even professionally) to develop between these two colleagues, they have built a strong working relationship based on mutual understanding of each other's style.