What do you see in this image?
Source: Rorschach Inkblot Test, Pearson Scott Foresman. (Public Domain).
Don't worry. We’re not testing you. Some folks see two people facing each other. Some see a crab. Some see lungs. Some see something entirely different. Which answer is right? Obviously, it's a crab. Just kidding – it's none of them. This is an intentionally ambiguous inkblot, meant to be open to interpretation. This inkblot-related insight will be obvious to anyone familiar with the Rorschach Test, but what wasn't obvious to us until we started studying the BUs of great managers is that conversations are splattered with inkblots – words that can be interpreted differently by different people. We at LifeLabs Learning have dubbed these “blur words.” Some common examples include “better,” “worse,” “less,” “more,” and the ever-popular “as soon as possible.”
Great managers are always on the lookout for blur words. They notice when people use them. They notice when they themselves use them. Then they apply the BU we've called Deblur. They turn ambiguous words into information that is clear enough for everyone to understand. Here are some sample Deblurring questions they ask.