How and Why We Misunderstand Each Other

Purpose:  Introduce basic psychology of interactions, provide an understanding on how communication can lead to misunderstandings, and provide some ideas and a tool to work with improving interactions.

Who Should Take This Class:  Although the class is focused on engineers working in global, multinational companies, the material is easily understood (no complex mathematical equations) and could be mostly applicable to anyone who interacts with people.

Photo Background:  When I was at Denali National Park in Alaska, USA in 2019, I saw these bones at the Eielson Visitor Center.  The sign said that they were two adult male moose who had apparently fought with one another, and died with their antlers locked together.  Either moose could have saved himself (and the other) by simply lowering his antlers and disengaging from the fight.  But because they continued fighting, they died locked together.  I reflected on it a lot, as at the time I was starting to work with task force activities for teams that were struggling to work together. It is both man and animal instinct to keep fighting, to win, but too often, it ends in undesirable outcomes for both companies and the people involved (lost business, lost revenue, burnout and stress, attrition, etc).  I chose this image for this class, because while one person cannot solve all problems they are in, by understanding the other parties, they may be able to influence interactions for a better outcome.

Self-paced Video Class launched Autumn 2021 Includes:

  • Basics of Human Interactions
  • Reasons for Misunderstandings, including:
    • Brief introduction to personality differences (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Belbin Team Role)
    • High level intercultural differences using The Culture Map, from Erin Meyer of INSEAD
  • Introduction to an Interpersonal Problem Solving Tool

Optional Additions or Customisations:

  • Live training for specific group(s) and/or team(s) including a custom Culture Map
  • Company specific video training including a custom Culture Map
  • Deep-dive into cultural misunderstandings using the custom Culture Map (live or video)
  • Advanced Culture, looking at other reasons for misunderstandings, using additional culture tools (Inglehart-Welzel, Hofstede) as well as economic conditions (using GapMinder and Dollar Street) (live or video)
  • Interpersonal Problem Solving using case studies and the Interpersonal Problem Solving Tool (live)
  • Belbin team role assessment (including observers for 360 feedback) for each team member (live or video introduction plus individual coaching)
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) for each team member (live or video introduction plus individual coaching)
  • Individual coaching