The Importance of Setting Context in Business + Design

I want you to think back to two things. One, the most emotionally charged interactions you’ve had recently, and two, your least favorite space in your home or office.

In the first instance, chances are you and the other person[s] intentions for the outcome of the situation were good. But somehow things ended poorly. Each person walked away feeling unheard and misunderstood, resulting in thoughts of relationship unworkability.

I’ll come back to the second one in a minute...

Taking the easy way out saying "This isn’t going to work out" or "It’s not a good fit" is cowardly and defensive. Very often context can be set in relationships to facilitate vision toward intended and positive outcomes. Relationship workability it key to satisfaction in life and maintaining a positive social reputation.

One way to establish this kind of rapport is through setting context. I also like to think of it as vision; it is a framework for the intended outcome in any situation. It’s especially important when approaching difficult interactions.

For example, if I were to say "I want to see you in my office" to one of my staff, they may expect to be reprimanded. I could set context by simply saying "I’m so pleased with your performance, I’d like to sit down with you and talk about how you can teach others to do what you’re doing".

The same goes for design. When I approach a project, I like to know what the context is for the client and space. What are we striving for, and what will facilitate the best possible outcome?

Navigating relationships in business with your team and renovation projects is messy at best. However, it can be extremely rewarding with a few skills learned along the way. By setting context, you are not only aligning others toward a common goal, but you are also narrowing down the discussion for the steps that will follow.

Here are some tips to navigate the chasm of differing opinions, personality types and objectives in order to work toward an inspiring vision.

Facts | What are the current existing conditions as they are?

Best Case | What is the ideal outcome or vision?

Seek Another Opinion | You may need some help here to see the other side clearly and impartially. Ask a mentor, coach or positive friend. In the case of designing or renovating, consult with an expert who can see a larger perspective.

Communicate Responsibly | State the facts and what you want. Sometimes apologies are in order. Check your ego at the door and identify your mistaken beliefs about people and the world.

Setting context is one of those skills to where you can influence others in a much more powerful and positive way.

Candy ScottComment