Upon responding to the summons, the CFO looked at me long and hard for several minutes. Finally speaking he said, “You dress funny. All of us wear court garments of green and white but you are dressed in a strange combination of maize and blue.” But that’s another story to be revisited after the fall jousting season.
Now this CFO was a bit portly and slightly balding, not a particularly striking figure. However, he seemed to be very wise, was very good at ciphering and the other people of his court enjoyed working under his guidance.
“For what need have you summoned me?” I asked.
“One of my Knights,” the CFO responded. “I’m having a great difficulty understanding his speech.”
“Is he from a foreign land?” I asked.
“No,” responded the CFO. “He grew up in a court much like ours but in a smaller kingdom.”
“Is he performing poorly or not exhibiting the integrity of a Knight?” I probed.
“Quite the opposite,” said the CFO. “He has performed extremely well over the few years he’s been here and the King is very pleased with his work.”
Humbly bowing to the CFO I said, “I’m sorry for my ignorance, sir, but I really don’t understand the problem.”
“The problem is,” responded the CFO. “I never know where he is or what dragon he is slaying or how that slaying is going to further protect the Kingdom. I need better information to tell the King when he asks about the Knights exploits.”
“Alright, I need to talk with this Knight, where shall I find him?”
The CFO looked at me blankly and said, “Have you been listening to anything I’ve said?”
“Never mind,” I said. “I’ll find him.”
When I found our knight, I decided to take the direct route and said, “The CFO never knows where you are or what you’re doing, you need to communicate more.”
The Knight looked at me dumbfounded and said, “You’ve got to be jesting me! I talk to the CFO all the time.”
- In the morning before the court is even open I tell him about my long-range plans while we’re practicing our sword play.
- When I pass him in the great corridor of the King, I give him a quick update on all fronts.
- I’ll often whisper in his ear during the Great noon-time Feast.
- Even while having an evening ale I’ll give him a quick update.
I talk with him all the time. How could he need any more communication?”
And in that moment I saw the problem. Long ago I learned from a certain seer from the land of MBTI that two particular types of people often have a difficult time communicating. It seems that the CFO was an IS and the Knight was an EN. Hmmm…. I thought, how can I get this IS and EN to better understand each other?
I suggested to our EN (Extraverted iNtuitive) Knight that he nail a one-page outline of his weeks slayings to the CFO’s door every Monday morning.
“But that’s so restrictive,” said the knight. “How could I possibly convey all that’s going on in a one-page outline?”
“Humor me,” I said.
Three weeks later I asked the IS (Introverted Sensing) CFO, how are things going?
“Splendid!” were his words. “I know exactly where our Knight is and what dragon he’s slaying. The King and I are both very pleased.”
The moral of the story? Even if you grew up and work in the same court together, don’t assume your communication is being understood. Know enough about all of the “languages” being spoken and heard to assure good understanding and communication.