What would you say if in the middle of a favorite song you are listening someone asks you:

“Would you like a sweet or salty snack?”.

It was a stewardess, all dressed in black with a gentle smile. She was trying to attract my attention.

It was another flight for this month and I am used to it so much, that I stop paying any attention to my surroundings after the plane takes off.

Back to the question they asked me.

It’s a very simple question, isn’t it? We all have our preferences. Many people will choose sweet snack and many people will choose the opposite.

The choice

“I would like a sweet snack, please”.

The funny thing was that I expected that such obvious choice was common to everyone. Everyone likes sweet things!

Statistically, there is a 50% chance for people to like a sweat snack and 50% to like salty snacks?

However, the person sitting next to me made the opposite choice! Was this a life-changing event to know people have different opinions, absolutely not!

But I was still a little bit surprise, because I was disconnected from the environment and the surrounding, since before that I was listening to music and I was thinking about something else.

This experience made me think about the feedback we give and how we communicate.

It’s so easy to assume that our point of view is a common sense.

What is a common sense

But is the snack important in the story?

Actually its not. Most important in this story is the fact that people are different and have different preferences and choices.

Maybe some of you who read the above words will tell me: “Thank you Captain obvious!”. This is a common sense.

Unfortunately, the common sense is not so common. We expect that people share our worldview of what is a common sense, just to be surprised when they behave differently than we expect them to. And don’t even do the tasks as we had communicated in the first place.

We think people like sweet things until we found people who don’t.

I still remember the first time I met a person allergic to cacao. My mind couldn’t understand this concept at first. I love chocolate, how is that possible for someone to not like it and even worst the chocolate to be the one thing that can kill them!?!

And the truth is that we tend to like the things are like us.

This bias could prevent us to deliver an honest and effective feedback.

Which means, next time when you deliver a feedback think about if the thing you want the other person to improve is really for the persons benefit or just your own need people to be like you!

Aleks Vladimriov is a Senior Software Developer, recognized Project Manager and Soft-skilled trainer and a coach.

Aleks Vladimirov

Solution Engineering Manager at Thales | Senior IT Professional | Startup Mentor and Product Manager

Aleks is experienced Product Manager with an engineer background and over 10 years of experience as a software developer. He works with different governments and is responsible for negotiation features and requirements, understanding the customers’ needs and supporting the senior management with regular reports and analysis. He held various positions starting as a software developer, moving to a team leader and software architect.

He strives in waterfall and agile environment alike. He is certified Scrum Master and Prince2 Practitioner and he knows how to design business processes and help teams optimize their work.
During his tenure, he had to wear many hats, prioritizing business requirements, delegating work and mentoring team members, creating mockups with Balsamiq, providing MS Project plan to the senior management.

He had worked in many international teams, located in the same city or distributed in different countries and continents. He had been a team leader of cross functional international team of 8 people.

In his current position, he is very much client focused. He has excellent presentation skills.
He delivers training sessions on presentation skills and leadership and he had helped hundred of people to improve their presentation skills.

He is also interested in creating more positive changes in the workplace by using entrepreneurship skills.
He had won startup competition where his team had validated and develop a business idea from scratch.

In his free time, he writes in his blog about effective product development.

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