Finding Context

While we were staying at a hotel, I took the kids to the pool. My 6 year old, a new but voracious reader, saw a sign leaning against a wall behind some bushes. “Oh no!” she said, “the pool is closed!” I explained to her that the sign wasn’t in use— it wasn’t on the sidewalk, it was mostly out of view, and people were in the pool already. After a few more reassuring statements, she jumped in.

It made me think about the importance of context. My daughter didn’t have enough experience to know that just because she could read these words didn’t mean they applied to her. But actually these kinds of situations happen all the time! Have you ever-  been at work and your boss informs you of a decision that seems out of left field? Tried an idea or tip that you read about that didn’t work for you? Refereed a sibling dispute that you didn’t witness?

A client recently told me she was being aggressively headhunted for a role in the tech space, her dream industry. But she had just made the big decision to leave her previous job because it was a poor culture fit, even though it involved a move back home for her. This dream role would have her move (again), and shared many of the same culture issues as the job she left. As we talked through the context, this position was less perfect than it seemed.

When creating situations for our families, where we often have the most context, it can still be difficult to know how everyone will react. Before we left Singapore, we asked our kids where they wanted to live. They participated enthusiastically, so excited for the change! Yet here we are mid-move and they tell us nearly every day that they miss Singapore. We took the leap based on what we knew  and what we wanted, and hoped for the best.

We live in a world where information is readily available, yet it’s impossible to know everything when making a decision. We can read all of the signs, but how do we know which are relevant? Which information is for us, given our specific context? How do you sort information and  navigate these issues?

Helpful questions to explore:

  • When do you have enough information to make a decision? Is it enough to give you context? What provides context for you?
  • What leads your decision making? Context? Experience? Your values? Your goals?
  • How do you support your teams and your children in their decision making? Do you provide them context?
  • How do you explore the situation and determine the right tools to use? Do you utilize a trusted friend, partner or coach?