In my responsibilities as manager for one of the bank’s factories, I need to share our performance, opportunities for improvement, and roadmap for the future. As I get ready, I find myself trying to measure the operational and subject knowledge of my audience. Experience reminds me that there is no right or wrong to this analysis. Wherever they are defines my starting position and approach. It is not a matter of making things dumb or smart. It is a process of tailoring my words and story so that everyone has a chance to participate.
It is not always easy. Traditional assumptions on the correlations between experience and knowledge are often wrong. Linking time with insight is a mistake. At a broad level, one can look at the other’s performance. With time, actions tell a story. While the story often changes, it is on the margin and not at the core. Mitigating circumstances color and describe the resilience of the essence of the individual. Success in the past is a leading indicator of success in the future.
To get a fuller version of the story, one must search the past, interview those involved then, and let the individual share the perspective. As one listens with one’s heart as well as the mind, a picture emerges. The combination reveals far more than anyone involves realizes.
The knowledge provides a perspective that one must consider if one intends to communicate. It is often helpful to begin, reminding the audience of what they know to be true. A good example is Paul’s introduction. “Paul took the stand and told his story. ‘I can’t think of anyone, King Agrippa, before whom I’d rather be answering all these Jewish accusations than you, knowing how well you are acquainted with Jewish ways and all our family quarrels.’” (Acts 26.2, 3)
It is an unending process. I used to see it as a burden. I now find that I have grown to enjoy the process of hearing others, understanding their perspective. It is a unique invitation into his/her soul that should never be squandered.