Three Types of People?

Posted: October 14, 2014

I have heard it said that there are three types of people in the world: Those who can tell you what is going to happen before it happens, those that can explain what is happening while it’s happening, and those who must ask, “What just happened?!”

In business, anticipating, understanding and capitalizing upon opportunity is vital. The truth of the matter is that all people fall into one or more of these positions from time to time. The trick is to have a strategy in place for each position and to respond appropriately.

Many years ago, following the introduction of the video cassette recorder (VCR), and the ensuing Betamax vs. VSH debate, my brother said to me, “You know, I bet someone could make a few bucks renting VCRs and movies.” Sometimes our crystal ball isn’t cloudy and opportunity becomes visible. In these cases the visionary needs to build a case for action. Even if you are the sole proprietor or the designated “decider”, the vision must be shared using effective communication. It may take time, but being persuasive and articulating a particular course of action will encourage engagement while maintaining group cohesiveness. Unfortunately, for my brother and me, we didn’t understand the emerging industry well enough to take advantage of the opportunity.

Understanding what is happening is vital to working together as a team and to develop an action plan. Those who know what is happening need to share that information, not only with those who don’t, but also with those who have anticipated the current and future circumstances. Again, this is a situation where effective communication skills can save the day. Open discussion will energize a team and make the decision-making process more effective.

Sometimes we find ourselves asking, “What just happened?” These are moments that require taking a deep breath, asking questions, and listening intently. Research the subject matter and seek out those who have a handle on what is transpiring. The goal is to eventually join the conversation. In these situations, openness and active listening are key.

We are all going to find ourselves addressing an opportunity from one of these positions. Recognizing where we are starting and acting appropriately will facilitate team engagement and growth. As team members, it’s vitally important to come to consensus to take advantage of opportunities in a concerted effort. If we do, who knows, we may just create the next new thing.