Who's that Girl?


Consumption Without Context

Originally posted: November 15, 2013 on TrishMcFarlane.com

*This post is dedicated to my friend Janet Swaysland, SVP of Global Communications and Social Media at Monster.  She inspired this post with a story she relayed to me about the Farm to Table movement.  This is a movement to address sustainability from a food perspective.  Participants travel to local farms to eat food grown at that location or other nearby farms or dairies.  This sustainable agricultural approach is growing in popularity because it supports local farmers and merchants as well as cuts down on the chemicals needed to keep the food fresh as it is shipped across the country.

I was fortunate recently to be a guest of Monster Worldwide at a dinner at Carnevino in Las Vegas.  This dinner was prepared by Chef Mario Batali (of Molto Mario and Iron Chef America fame) and his outstanding fellow chefs.  Chef Batali also dined with the group and told some amazing stories about the food and how he personally chooses Monster to assist him when he is looking to fill positions.  I was especially impressed when he said that the Monster 6Sense search technology is important to him.

Beyond the exquisite food offerings I was seated with some of the finest dinner companions from across the country.  Kevin Grossman and Janet Swaysland, just to name a couple.  It was a conversation with Janet that made me think about consumpion without context.  As she relayed her experience participating in the Farm to Table dinner movement, I was fascinated.  By experiencing not only the local fare but also knowing how things are grown, how the animals are treated and the processes that are followed, it makes the context of the meal that much more meaningful.

When thinking about how this applies to business, communications, and human resources, our consumption of information or sharing information without context can cause critical mistakes.  For example, the types of messages that flow from human resources are often pushed one-way and that is out to employees or leaders.  If you’re in an organization where that is the primary approach, I challenge you to begin thinking about how to make it more about the context around each message and the reasons behind needing that particular bit of information shared.

Boosting the context

  • Provide a place where more details can be found on many of the messages related to policy or procedure.  Employees like to know why doing something a certain way is important.
  • Validate the information.  Without context, you leave room for misinterpretation of the information.
  • Allow employees to give feedback.  Messages will receive greater acceptance when two-way communication is present.

Better understanding comes from knowing not only the function but also the meaning.  What are you doing to boost context in the way you provide information to employees, clients or via social media?  Share with me in the comments….


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