Created by Karen Krogel

#favouritemodel No.12 - Considering Context

Just between us: Would you cross the street when the traffic light is red.? After an indignant "of course not!" you might say, "It depends..."

E.g. whether the street is busy or whether you might be standing alone at a lonely intersection at 11 p.m. - or whether there are children around for whom you want to be a role model. Or maybe there are other parameters that influence your decision. This shows that it makes no sense to look at behavior independently of the context. We all behave differently under different conditions.

Nevertheless, we tend to fall into this trap in our everyday life, especially when dealing with and assessing the behavior of others. We see behavior in isolation, i.e. we do not consider the context when interpreting behavior. For example, when managers tell me about "that one difficult employee". Often, when we take a closer look, we find environmental factors that contribute to the behavior making sense or at least serving a purpose for that employee. In many cases, it makes more sense to work on these environmental factors than to try to change the person alone.

I do not want to deny that at the same time, of course, all those involved contribute to the context and have a responsibility for the state reached and also its (resolution). To see oneself only as a "victim of circumstances" would be an inadmissible simplification in many cases. Considering the context means rather to broaden the view, to allow several perspectives and also to recognize my own (perhaps subconscious) part in a situation and thus to discover more levers and possibilities for action in order to get out of a deadlocked situation again.

How does my #favouritemodel help you?

If you don't understand a person's behavior, take a step back (mentally)! Which parameters from the overall context could be those that contribute to the behavior making sense from the subjective perspective?

Even if you can't find an explanation for a person's behavior or you are convinced that the motivation for the behavior shown lies mainly in the individual himself or herself or even in the private sphere, what in your common context contributes to the behavior being shown? When does it occur more strongly, when less strongly? In this way, you may find adjustments that you can make and see if something changes.

If you want to implement a measure - be it a new training program, the introduction of a new system or a new team structure - ask yourself in what larger context is this taking place? For example, what other projects are running in parallel? How will interfaces react to it, what input could they provide? How can colleagues or supervisors be involved in and support learning objectives?

Considering the context opens the perspective to so many potentially supportive factors - I wouldn't want to miss this thinking step!

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