Connecting the Dots


How are you at spotting trends, predicting future behavior, and connecting the dots within your chosen profession?

More importantly, how well do you act on that information? Do your resulting actions advance your career, land a big sale, result in a new product or service that becomes a huge hit? Do you fail to act? Are you blindsided before acting? Do you take actions that result in poor outcomes?

What if you could…..

  • Walk into a sales opportunity and pick up on the visual cues, body language, and avoidance communications of a prospective customer and use those cues to craft a series of responses to gain trust and make the sale? Meanwhile, a co-worker not savvy to the art of nuance, walks into the same scenario and misses it all, running through their scripted, comfortable, direct approach only to get no where and to never be called back.
  • Read (between the lines) that a series of internal work meetings over the past six months to improve operations were masking future actions that would eventually lead to the elimination of your role–and that of hundreds of your colleagues within the next two years? Acting on that realization would allow you to make your next career move on your own terms. Colleagues failing to see the nuanced issues early on would end up blindsided and flat-footed.
  • Sit down with four potential suppliers to your business and hear similar proposals from each regarding pricing, delivery, quality and innovation–yet clearly and confidently walk away knowing that two were being deceptive (and confirming it with some short follow-up), thereby whittling your decision down to two good supplier candidates.

As for me? Well, I haven’t always got it right–none of us get a hit every time we step up to the plate. Yet, I have definitely honed skills that give me an advantage (in sales, career development, product/service roll-outs, team development, and more) when it comes to my professional abilities to read that crystal ball.

In my own case, my past investigative and auditing roles have enhanced my sales and operations skills, leveraging everything from reading body-language, to framing questions, to arranging a presentation environment for maximum impact, and to watching for what is not being said as much as that which is verbalized.

While it isn’t necessary to have a background in professional investigations in order to improve our ability to “connect the dots,” I believe business professionals can develop and improve their skills to read and act on nuanced communications, situations, and encounters.

Maybe the best teacher of gaining these skills is desire, an open mind, and time. Finding a solid mentor with an ability to read nuanced situations can also prove invaluable. And finally, as a life-long learner; I would suggest that books, webinars, and other studies on business communications, assessments, and group interaction could also enhance your skills to read a situation.

(Photo credit here)