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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
All morning I’ve felt like I need to bust the door down with a certain IT group who didn’t seem to be listening to the needs I was outlining. This is probably the 5th or 6th meeting where I explained things, and a little bit of progress was made, but not enough and we are in a time crunch.

I spoke to people individually and because other people who I represent were worried I wasn’t doing a good enough job communicating then my manager had to listen today while I fought to be understood.

Afterwards she said “It sounded like you were trying to explain the end point a lot when they were asking for step 1. It didn’t sound like you were listening, but I think you were.”

I said “It’s always that way with me. I see the big picture really easily but what I say does answer all the details and steps if you understand the big picture”

I know I listened. I know I answered the questions the best way I could.

I told my husband, “If someone is asking ‘How does this puzzle piece fit into this puzzle?’ And I answer “It doesn’t, this is going to be a picture of a River. What you’ve got is a piece of a building.” Then THAT is the answer, dang it! I’m sorry I’m further ahead, and I’m sorry that that is confusing, but what do you expect me to say? I’ve got to get you on board and you are putting together the wrong puzzle!!! Let me explain why it needs to be a River... let me tell you what the River looks like. Who will do the water? Who will do the trees?

I don’t know what else an Ne dom can do with it? I can listen about the puzzle with the building, but I need to get you on board with the River pronto. Would they really want me to talk about the buildings and answer questions about the buildings and then weeks down the line they find out it was the wrong puzzle, because that is where they were heading.

Please tell me you’ve been in these situations before. If it’s not my responsibility then I can watch everyone waste time after I’ve found out I’m not getting listened to, but if it is my responsibility, then for Pete’s sake! Listen when I tell you it is the wrong freaking puzzle! I am the subject expert on this thing! And I don’t know how else to bridge the gap on that. I can say “Let me tell you about the real puzzle” nicely while nobody gets it for maybe 5 meetings and in the 6th I freaking need people to listen!

You’ve been there, right?
I did finally get through, but I’m not sure how to communicate it all better than I am. It sounds like “Where does this building piece go?”
“We don’t need that piece, we are doing a different puzzle.”
“Well, I’ve been working on the shadow of this building all week.”
“Im so sorry, but the puzzle we are doing is a River, you didn’t have to do the building shadows. There are no buildings. I do need people working on water and sky and trees.
“Should we go ask this other guy who works for a different company where the building goes?”
“ We are doing a River puzzle now. I sent you the River puzzle 3 months ago, last week and this week. I can send you another one if you want. You can stop doing the old puzzle, it was the wrong one. It was the one you thought you were doing when you erroneously left the subject matter expert out of it before. But now you know that I have new info for you, I need to make sure we are completing a River all together. We need a River.”
“Oh, well can you figure out what you want and get us the final puzzle?”
“Yes! This puzzle that I sent to you is the only one you need.”
“But it’s a picture of a River...we could maybe do the River in the future if you really want, but we need to get this building ready right now and we might be past due with you wasting time talking about this water thing.”


Gah!!!!! Ugg!!!! !!!!! !!!!!!!

I have to just keep going, trying to break the door down, there are too many people affected and depending on me, but it is exhausting.

I honestly don’t know how to connect the dots from where they are to what Is needed without discussing the big picture. I don’t know how to tell them what is wrong unless they understand that they’ve got the wrong picture and it needs to change. I keep saying “This is why I need to go through the details of this spreadsheet”. When they go through the details of it with me, then they do get it “Oh there’s water here!” “Oh this is why so and so said”. YES! But I’m not sure how to get them to look with me until they understand there is a problem and Since there is so much to review I think it would be ridiculous to start with just one puzzle piece “See that. This one’s not in your picture is it? hmm... I wonder why?” And then show them another piece? We have hundreds of pieces of info to go through and a deadline... Do I have to go through a bunch until they realize they are doing the wrong puzzle? Maybe. Am I being too nice? It didn’t feel like it today.

And here is the other thing. When I was younger with stuff like this, it just made me feel crazy because nobody could see what I saw... until later. But after it happening so many times and when you’re put into authority about it, then you start trusting yourself...people who work with you over time trust you but.... oh my gosh...with a new group to work with who doesn’t know you well? This can all just.... well, it’s exhausting.

You guys have stories to Fi comfort me?
 

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All morning I’ve felt like I need to bust the door down with a certain IT group who didn’t seem to be listening to the needs I was outlining. This is probably the 5th or 6th meeting where I explained things, and a little bit of progress was made, but not enough and we are in a time crunch.

I spoke to people individually and because other people who I represent were worried I wasn’t doing a good enough job communicating then my manager had to listen today while I fought to be understood.

Afterwards she said “It sounded like you were trying to explain the end point a lot when they were asking for step 1. It didn’t sound like you were listening, but I think you were.”

I said “It’s always that way with me. I see the big picture really easily but what I say does answer all the details and steps if you understand the big picture”

I know I listened. I know I answered the questions the best way I could.

I told my husband, “If someone is asking ‘How does this puzzle piece fit into this puzzle?’ And I answer “It doesn’t, this is going to be a picture of a River. What you’ve got is a piece of a building.” Then THAT is the answer, dang it! I’m sorry I’m further ahead, and I’m sorry that that is confusing, but what do you expect me to say? I’ve got to get you on board and you are putting together the wrong puzzle!!!

I don’t know what else an Ne dom can do with it? I can listen about the puzzle with the building, but I need to get you on board with the River pronto. Would they really want me to talk about the building and answer questions about the building and then weeks down the line they find out it was the wrong puzzle, because that is where they were heading.

Please tell me you’ve been in these situations before. If it’s not my responsibility then I can watch everyone waste time after I’ve found out I’m not getting listened to, but if it is my responsibility, then for Pete’s sake! Listen when I tell you it is the wrong freaking puzzle! I am the subject expert on this thing! And I don’t know how else to bridge the gap on that. I can say “Let me tell you about the real puzzle” nicely while nobody gets it for maybe 5 meetings and in the 6th I freaking need people to listen!

You’ve been there, right?
I did finally get through, but I’m not sure how to communicate it all better than I am. It sounds like “Where does this building piece go?”
“We don’t need that piece, we are doing a different puzzle.”
“Well, does it fit over here?”
“No, the puzzle we are doing is a River, no buildings”
“Should we go ask this other guy who works for a different company where the building goes?”
“ We are doing a River puzzle now. I sent you the River puzzle 3 months ago, last week and this week. I can send you another one if you want. You can stop doing the old puzzle, it was the wrong one. It was the one you thought you were doing when you erroneously left the subject matter expert out of it before!”
“Well can you make sure this is the final puzzle?”
“Yes! This puzzle that I sent to you is the only one you need.”
“But it’s a picture of a River...we could maybe do the River in the future.”

Gah!!!!! Ugg!!!! !!!!! !!!!!!!
Actually, I'm a Ne dom and I happen to work in a IT/Telecommunications company. I can dance to whatever tune you want and still solve the problem.
So what are you trying to get them to understand and what aren't they understanding?
You want something to do "x" and they keep trying to convince you really need to do "y"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually, I'm a Ne dom and I happen to work in a IT/Telecommunications company. I can dance to whatever tune you want and still solve the problem.
So what are you trying to get them to understand and what aren't they understanding?
You want something to do "x" and they keep trying to convince you really need to do "y"?
I’m a dietitian. I represent all the dietitians across the hospitals. We are the only group at our hospital who works with both our hospital computer program and the kitchen program. We are switching to a new kitchen program.

Right now in each kitchen program, some of the diets are defined differently. We wanted them to all be exactly alike. We finished this and gave it to the IT department months ago and they didn’t know what they were looking at.

They thought our hospital program defined all of the diets, and so they gave all the codes to the new program from our hospital program, but it is only part of the information but they didn't/don’t know that. A lot of numerical data should come from my group. They didn’t get it from the old kitchen systems, they just didn’t know about it at all. Let me give an example: In the hospital program it says “Cardiac diet” and in the kitchen program we want “Cardiac Diet” to mean that the patient is not allowed more than 21g saturated fat. Since they didn’t get that info from us right now there is no numerical value. It’s missing. “Cardiac” is meaningless the way they have it now.

So I’ve been asking questions trying to make sure they got my spreadsheet from us dietitians because otherwise many diets are undefined. They didn’t know what I was talking about. I finally got another Ne dom to talk to, the big-wig, and she understood me about us dietitians standardizing what we wanted but she still didn’t understand that there was missing info. I pointed out the missing info and still they weren’t using our spreadsheet. One of the guys kept saying “Well, we know stuff is missing now but we will find out from the new kitchen program what they want”. I said “They will want us to just give them clean information so that they can then define these diets appropriately in their system. We need to marry our information together”. This did not compute. They made a new meeting date for tomorrow with the new kitchen software.

In addition, the dietitians have been like “What do you mean our sheet isn’t being used? We worked on all this months ago.” So there were other dietitians in this call who had not been in my 4-5 previous meetings who were also trying to communicate and who went down the rabbit hole with some of the things the tech department thought were important and weren’t, I’d already determined it was moot. Basically they do not understand our current way of doing things and they don’t know what they don’t know.

So I sent messages to everyone I could get to listen saying “We need this spreadsheet married to our hospital info before we work with the kitchen computer team or they will just think we don’t communicate at EPIC and it will be a waste of their time and ours.

So they put a meeting together for me and my boss had already been informed by one of the dietitians that things were not going well and had to listen while I explained again what my spreadsheet is and had to hear again someone say “Can you put a final spreedsheet together?” And I said again “This is the final one. The one I’ve been giving everyone for weeks now. I need people to go through it with me so that we can get all of this right.” Luckily Mr details got on, but he was saying “I can’t use this, it doesn’t have any codes on it. This won’t really work. This is just what you want to have happen in the end”. And I said “We need to go through this and make it so that it works for you so that we can give it to the kitchen program, because yes, this is what we want in the end”

And so they finally listened and sat down with the data and me for a bit, but I thought they had listened before and it feels like Ground Hog’s Day. One of the major things was that I wanted to identify for them which diets had it all in the hospital program and which ones needed our spreadsheet and they unfortunately said “Oh that’s down the line” but I think that’s the whole thing I wanted to communicate.

I still know that they need to go through everything with me because there are tons of details and only Mr. Details/ rabbit hole guy (yes I know he is super important) and the Ne dom big-wig and I understand how much detail is involved, but man.... they have GOT to listen to subject matter experts. I still know this ship has a long way to sail and if they don’t understand that there is information that they need from me and will keep needing from me then it is going to be rough seas.
 

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So each diet plan has a code. And each code has various restrictions. This should be easy to sort out with a few database requirements. I assume we're talking about a hospital menu, so for someone on a restricted diet for heart issues, they'd need something low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, for example, correct? Anything on the menu that hits a certain number value for any one of those things and the program automatically excludes it as a choice for that patient, correct? I mean, same thing for a diabetic, you have to be careful with foods containing heavy starches and sugars, right? Everything just needs a mathematical value. Then it becomes a "True/False" game.

"If food type exceeds this value by this amount then remove from menu for this diet type." (Obviously by portion size and whatnot).

The computer program just needs to compare the assigned diet plan with the numerical values that have been associated with each food item on the menu so it can sort the ones that are acceptable while excluding the ones that are not. Is this not so?

They do need a spreadsheet with the food items on the menu and max allowed limits for each diet plan.
 

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This isn’t super helpful but have you read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? I think it would be relatable for you- you can immediately see it because you’ve been doing it long enough that you have the instincts to know what the right way is- but explaining it when someone isn’t at that level sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So each diet plan has a code. And each code has various restrictions. This should be easy to sort out with a few database requirements. I assume we're talking about a hospital menu, so for someone on a restricted diet for heart issues, they'd need something low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, for example, correct? Anything on the menu that hits a certain number value for any one of those things and the program automatically excludes it as a choice for that patient, correct? I mean, same thing for a diabetic, you have to be careful with foods containing heavy starches and sugars, right? Everything just needs a mathematical value. Then it becomes a "True/False" game.

"If food type exceeds this value by this amount then remove from menu for this diet type." (Obviously by portion size and whatnot).

The computer program just needs to compare the assigned diet plan with the numerical values that have been associated with each food item on the menu so it can sort the ones that are acceptable while excluding the ones that are not. Is this not so?

They do need a spreadsheet with the food items on the menu and max allowed limits for each diet plan.
Yes. I thought this made sense. I keep telling them “Here is the data” but they weren’t looking/ willing to sit down. They were so sure they had everything. They still don’t. There are some other things that need attention, but this is the biggest one.

The rabbit hole that guy fell down. He asked the new kitchen computer guy what they needed. The kitchen system thought it was our “comments” section in our hospital system that had the numerical data, so he told our hospital computer guy to turn all the comments into numerical data, which would take FOREVER and still not get what we want. He printed out all the “comments” we’ve had for the last 6 months and made a spread sheet and thought that needed to be translated into data for them. It doesn’t. We need comments to stay as comments, but the real numbers we want in the program come from my group. I don’t know why the idea that dietitians have data for them on these diets that we need defined is so hard. Even going over the spreadsheet today with Mr. Rabbit-hole at first he was just “I can’t use this” I know it is hard to look at someone else’s spreadsheet, but he needs to and it’s a lot less data than he thinks it is. It’s nothing compared to his “comments” data. I think when we got into it it became more okay, but man.... he is bucking.
 

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Yes. I thought this made sense. I keep telling them “Here is the data” but they weren’t looking/ willing to sit down. They were so sure they had everything. They still don’t. There are some other things that need attention, but this is the biggest one.
Poor systems analysis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@tanstaafl28 comments are used when we need to emphasize an allergy or patient preference “Wants strawberry Ensure only”. He started out showing us this data on tube feeding flushes which are comments that never get to the kitchen, the comment is for the nurses in that instance and he had wanted to change our computer system to hold more of these numbers so that the need for comments was gone. All that was not needed at all. Not at all. He just needed to ask the dietitians what is needed to get to the kitchen.

I don’t know... this is all going to take so long when they are not sitting down with me to understand and a big meeting is not going to be as helpful as taking time to go over it with those giving the data to the kitchen system.

I suspect tomorrow morning will be like Ground hog day again.

There is all of this language difference, but it should at least make sense to explain what is going on now and what needs to continue. Ugh. I need a vacation.
 

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Sounds like pretty typical back and forth when combining data/parameters from different management systems, honestly. Done it a couple of times directly, worked with people who have done it several times, and it is always a shit show from what I can tell, no matter how awesome your communication skills. Just keep pushing until it gets to where it needs to be, even though it is a frustrating process!

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sounds like pretty typical back and forth when combining data/parameters from different management systems, honestly. Done it a couple of times directly, worked with people who have done it several times, and it is always a shit show from what I can tell, no matter how awesome your communication skills. Just keep pushing until it gets to where it needs to be, even though it is a frustrating process!

Ahh, thank you Squirt!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@tanstaafl28 and @Squirt It’s actually working. Once I made them sit down and do the details... it was funny because even the Ne dom who I thought understood was surprised again. She really hadn’t realized the extent of the information that was missing and that they needed from me. I said “This is what I’ve been talking about.”
 

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@tanstaafl28 and @Squirt It’s actually working. Once I made them sit down and do the details... it was funny because even the Ne dom who I thought understood was surprised again. She really hadn’t realized the extent of the information that was missing and that they needed from me. I said “This is what I’ve been talking about.”
I am glad you persevered in this instance.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another communication style that an Ne dom has (me anyway) that might not work on everyone is that when we are trying to persuade and if we think someone is potentially going to make a big mistake, we will say “If you do it that way then that would only create X, but if you add this and do it this way then you’ll get Y which you can further leverage for Z”.

And although that seems so obvious to us (me, anyway) I am not sure it even gets processed in someone else’s mind and I talk like that a lot because it’s very clear to me and I think it will be obvious to others to make sure the right decision is being made, but they might just think it all sounds like a goose-chase? They might be thinking “Why did her mind even go down that path and tell me about it? I haven’t even started on that part yet. I thought we would just change direction if it wasn’t working ?” Or they might be having a hard time connecting those dots clearly and it just doesn’t seem clear to them, so a lot of hubbub about nothing they have seen on the horizon yet.

I’m still having to fight a hard fight with everything I’ve talked about. It’s slowly getting there, but every meeting I have to explain and put down wrong assumptions. “Why are you trying to change this puzzle into a River when we were so far along on the buildings?” Is still a question (inside the analogy of course) I’m getting asked so much. And “You’re surprising us with so much.” Yesterday J had to write a letter explaining that the reason we are doing this project at all is because we need a River and if they had worked with who uses the program they would have understood that, but since they thought they understood everything, when they don’t, then it has been really difficult.

To quote James Cameron, ENFP, “It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.”
 
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