Oil rigs appear every few years and stay in line of sight from my house for a few months whilst maintenance is undertaken on them, and so I celebrate when they depart leaving me once again with a clear view of Edinburgh across the Firth of Forth.
I was talking to my personal trainer today and said "oh goody we may be saying goodbye to this oil rig" and then went on to describe how the boat is able to seemingly submerge it's middle so the oil rig can be floated onto it and taken back out to sea.
He looked at me very strangely and said "the boat seems a little small to me."
I looked out of the window and laughed and said "Oh we're having a chocolate moment!"
Again he looked at me strangely.
On most of my workshops I use the word "chocolate" as an example of how we each have different interpretations for words. In the exercise I ask people to write down the first 8 words they think about when thinking of chocolate, and then ask them to compare them with the first 8 words others on the workshop have written down. Generally even the most common word will only be written down by 50% of those there, and some have very few words in common with others and everyone has words that are not common with anyone else.
Of course when you think of other more relevant words such as purchasing, procurement, consultant, or trainer it certainly helps explain how misunderstandings arise.
Look at the picture again and notice how many boats there are near the oil rig.
When I said "boat" my personal trainer had seen the small one on the right hand side away from the oil rig. When I said "boat" I was meaning the boat on the right hand side but adjacent to and partly obscured by the oil rig.
Such a great example of how easy it is to be at cross purposes when we make assumptions that we're talking about the same thing.
Next time two opinions seem to be at odds with each other it may be that you're also having a chocolate moment. You may therefore just need to clarify what you're both talking about. You may just be surprised at where the difference in opinion is coming from.
Subsequently I've written other blogs exploring definition of supplier management, supplier relationship management, out of contract and one from recent NHS experience on personal care.
Inspiring change inside and out (more here on why that's important)
and I realise last time the oil rig left I took a picture of just what I've been talking about...
The "boat" with sunken middle