Decoding Careers: how to decode people

Success is defined not only by the skills and talent you have (developed), but also how you can interact with people around you. With people, i mean your family, friends, colleagues, customers, etc. Many times we wish we would have chosen the right people to be around, but many times you have no choice: it becomes important to decode people around you so that you learn to understand what they really say and mean (instruction book). This is more important if you are a product manager or a manager where interactions are the core part of your job.

A while ago, i started to develop a “sixth sense” where I would decode (i.e. read, understand, catch the toxicity, benign or not, etc.) a person in seconds: very  weird.  How is it possible? How can you decode in seconds that someone has good skills, has benign intentions and fits the purpose? It was not just an intuition, it was the full scan of a person. I started analyzing further where this sense was coming from and I came to an intriguing revelation.

Seven years ago I have agreed to own a dog for the first time. My wife wanted it and finally I said yes. This turned to be one of the best thing happened to me and my career. My immediate struggle with dogs was that I could not speak the same language and therefore I could not understand what the dog wanted to say or mean. Later, by doing a proper research, it become very clear that I had to study the dog body language and observe the signals: every signal or a combination of them represent a state of emotion and “betrays” the dog’s intentions.

In many ways, humans are like dogs as I have talked about it in previous blogs. But, in particular, generally speaking, humans can talk to humans: they listen to the voice but they never observe the body language. Even humans betray their intentions via the body language. Many times you say something, but your body says completely the opposite. Like with dogs, i started to learn how to read humans, in a different way. And it has always worked.

Couple of years ago, I met an individual who went through the “scan” and immediately my alarm went off. But, in that case, I have ignored it and I told myself, stop it, he is very good. Weeks after weeks, I was going through this struggle. Until I was proven my sixth sense was right. All other bets I made in the past until today worked. In business, in your career, hiring good people that fit the purpose is very difficult. Even a honest, rock-solid CV does not give any guarantee. The same applies for meetings, negotiations, etc with people you have never met. For me, a dog was the miracle that made it happen.

Developing this sixth sense is a key to interpret people, situations and turn threats into opportunities: you don’t know that I know.

Massimo

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