Nature, nurture and self — and the interconnections that define our lives

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Climber on the summit.Oh gosh, what a title (and topic) for a blog on construction marketing . . . I’m getting a bit philosophical, but suppose this is as good a time as any to stretch the limits of the topic here, especially on the first day of the northern hemisphere summer when relatively few people are reading these words but several colleagues are working with unusual and unseasonal intensity to get the July issues of our Canadian publications completed.

The issue here is how much do external (environment) and inherent (genetic) traits influence our circumstances, correlated with how much can we control our destiny by our conscious decisions and actions.This three-pointed concept extends to business and marketing decisions, as well.

Take for example this example. You work to craft the most powerful and effective presentation, research everything, pull your team together, and get set for the big day, when you have the misfortune to present to a team whose members are experiencing unknown personal stresses. Your audience “listens” to you, but the team leader at the receiving end’s mind is elsewhere, and perhaps because your facial appearance and expressions match the person with whom he is experiencing angst, he “marks you down” on the evaluation criteria; not enough to create a situation where you could prove negative and unwarranted bias, but enough to lower your point scores that your competitor wins the project.

Obviously there isn’t much you could do to avoid problems with these nuanced difficulties.The only obvious solutions to me would be to ensure you have some diversity in your project flow and enough depth in relationships with the overall committee reviewing your work to prevent a single bad day for one person ruining it for you.  This would give you two levels of possible recovery — other votes would override the one person’s views, or, if you ultimately fail to win the work, you would have other projects to fill the gap.

The same situation, I expect, applies in your internal organization working environment. We don’t live in isolation, interconnecting with each other, but also with our own personal/family and external relationships. In the ideal world, the best of our personal space integrates with our work, but much is separate and (especially for less-than-positive stuff, or relationships outside of our immediate circle) invisible to people around us. We can draw faulty conclusions and respond in damaging ways based on superficial or incomplete information, obviously.

The best answers here I think combine respect for others, recognition of our weaknesses (and strengths) and an understanding that, while we are responsible for much of what happens to us, we live within our genetics and external environment as well. Things happen. We can choose how to respond and adapt.

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