Too often we rely on emotion or circumstantial evidence to construct perspectives on our employees, vendors and customers; which are short-sighted.
"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour."
~ Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
The Full Scoop
Research has shown that the average manager takes 90 seconds to develop an opinion of another person they have just met. In a study by Princeton psychologists, it was found that only a tenth of a second was needed to form an impression.
Understanding how another person develops their opinion of you and your team can be helpful, first impressions really do matter. At the same time, this information is alarming - as it really applies to all of us in how we see the world and judge other people. We can all be too quick to judge another person or company based on very limited information and exposure.
It is easy to jump to conclusions on another person, situation, client, employee; you name it. It has been said that we are emotional beings, who make emotional decisions, which we then try to justify with logic.
Have you ever developed an opinion on another employee, colleague or vendor; that ended up being entirely wrong? Were you perhaps too quick to judge, too confident, and overly reliant on a gut instinct or feeling, and not on their true intentions, actions, research or quality information?
In our business we work to keep this in mind when not only forming opinions on the relationships we have with each other, but also with our clients. If you feel you have a great relationship with a client, take time to understand why; why are they a great client, and why are you doing an exceptional job to keep them as a client?
We regularly perform client health checks. A client health check is a list you create, outlining the services you perform or should be performing for a client. Periodically, you should go through the checklist line by line, and with the mindset of a third party, grade yourself on how you are doing. Do we just think we are doing an exceptional job, simply because there have not been escalations, or do we know we are doing a great job based on hard facts and data.
In the world of Information Technology Consulting, we are so used to using the non-quantitative to measure our success, that we can become casual in the tactical application of our services; if we are not careful. Being a Virtual or Fractional CIO for a company, requires that you dedicate time and effort to really understand how a system is performing. No news is not always good news, sometimes no news is simply a reflection of your lack of action in digging into a given platform or team, to really understand how they are performing.
Avoid the temptation of developing an absolute opinion on a person, relationship or technology platform. The truth tends to gravitate to the center of any given situation. Recognize that appearances on the outside rarely provide an entire picture for the intentions and goings on "under the hood". As you seek to truly understand the relationships around you, you will become more open to honest feedback, and your goal of continuous improvement in your personal and corporate development will become a reality.