by Kristi Merilees, Director, Engagement + Communications
I have always been happiest in a team environment where there is an opportunity to work directly with community members, stakeholders, and clients. Their individual perspectives and communication styles often provide me with new insights and opportunities to learn.
One of my most valuable lessons was realizing that an individual’s perception is their reality or their “truth”. Their truth exists regardless of whether it reflects what I or others may perceive as reality or “the facts”. Developing an awareness of the importance of differing perspectives has helped me realize that some of the most valuable insights I (and the project) will gain come from those who view things differently than I.
This occurs often when I am in discussion with my own sons – I have four of them, so lots of learning! Although they are brothers, close in age and with many of the same interests, they inevitably have a different understanding of the same discussion. There were times when I tried to gain consensus or collective agreement by expecting my sons to adopt my view or perception of reality as theirs. That approach never worked or ended in a happy family dinner!
I realized over time that some of our most collaborative discussions were initiated by taking the time to listen and understand the individual viewpoints, experiences and differences. Some of our greatest connection has been found in dialogue where we positively agreed to disagree.
Delaney + Associates seeks to create environments that support differing perspectives, collaborative dialogue, and connection. It is in these environments where I think that true engagement can occur. This approach to engaging with others inspires me and I am excited to learn from and be a part of this great team.