Meet The People Of

366 Solar Communication Styles Case Study

Background

One of the best ways for you to lock in your understanding of Communication Styles 2.0 is to “see” the styles in action.

On this page we’re going to meet two of the people who work at 366 Solar, a fictitious solar energy company with an innovative new solar panel fighting for market share.

This case study story is from the book The Magic of Communication Styles. You can find all of the people and stories there.

Along the way, you’ll meet the different Communication Styles and be able to observe them in action. You’ll see where they get along easily and where their differing Styles cause problems.

Just like any other group of people, they’ll have their struggles and victories and you can read about them as the story unfolds.

After the story, there will be an opportunity for you to diagnose the communication problem and offer suggestions. Then we’ll replay the story to see how the characters use their knowledge of Communication Styles to adjust to each other to get the results they need to move the project and company forward.

Meet Barbara And Tyler

Barbara Cole, the Marketing Director for 366 Solar, strolled past the cafeteria. She spotted Tyler Hughes, the Chief Financial Officer, sitting by himself. Eating lunch on your own is terrible, she thought. I’ll go join him. She switched directions and headed back toward him.

What she didn’t know was that Tyler had already seen her pass by. And her coming toward him was the last thing he wanted right now. Barbara was too bubbly for his tastes. Conversations with her always left him exhausted. I just want to eat my lunch in peace.

“Hey, Tyler! We missed you at the company meetup this weekend. Even Paul was there! What happened?”

“I couldn’t go.”

“Oh, is everything alright?”

“Yes. Why wouldn’t it be?”

Barbara was struck by his response. Why is he always so distant? Maybe I just need to get to know him better. She pulled up a chair and sat next to him.

However, this move intruded on his personal bubble. Space. I need space! he thought.

“I just adopted a new dog. Did I tell you? Her name is Bailee. So cute. Want to see some pictures?” Barbara took out her phone and scrolled to find pictures of her dog. She showed them to Tyler. “Look at that face!”

The phone was too close for him to look properly. I need to get this over with. “Yes. Beautiful.”

“Do you have any pets?”

“Look, I’ve got to go. Numbers to crunch.”

“Numbers! You’re such an expert, Tyler. You’re an incredible addition to the team.”

     Always with the compliments, he thought. She rambles on so much I wonder how she has time to do her own job. “Thanks.”

“Actually, now that you mentioned it, well, I mean I mentioned it, I wanted to talk to you about something. The marketing budget is underfunded. We need to allocate more funds for social media.”

“What for?”

     What for? What does he mean what for? “Well, you know Paul is set to bid on the contract for Alta California. I think we should increase our awareness among millennials. They are the future, after all, and will help propel us forward into gaining market share once they graduate.”

Tyler started to worry. “I haven’t gotten any emails about this.”

“I want to do a campaign directed toward them. I’m thinking a push on social media, and, wait, I got it! We’ll do a video, release it on YouTube, push it to go viral.”

     Whose decision was this? Tyler thought. And why wasn’t I told about it?

Barbara was on a roll. This was where she felt the most comfortable, letting the ideas flow, bouncing them off others. “You know what? We could focus on the company! On us. A small documentary. Intimate. Right? Just picture it.” Barbara took her phone out and started recording Tyler. “The camera on you while they ask about your experiences in the company. Your hopes. I know just the people for it, too.”

The mere thought of that intimidated Tyler. I don’t want anybody filming me. He had to get her to calm down. “Barbara, stop.”

Barbara flinched as if he had struck her. “Stop?”

“You’re just saying the first things that come to your mind.”

     Whoa, Barbara thought. He’s not distant. He’s just mean. “Come on, Tyler. I need you to keep up with me here.”

Tyler stared at her. He gathered what remained of his lunch and stood up. “Why don’t we shelve it for now and bring it back up when you’ve got a better handle on it.” He walked to the trash container and dumped his tray. I need some down time. Without a glance backward he left for his office.

     Well, Barbara thought. That certainly didn’t go well.

Here’s What’s Happening

Conflict tends to arise when one Communication Style expects the other to share his or her strengths. To avoid conflict and work best together, it is important that both parties understand these differences. Let’s look at the possible sources of conflict between the two styles:

  • Order Styles tend to be analytical thinkers who thrive on solving problems.
  • Freedom and privacy are important to Order Styles. They like people, but too much social interaction can leave them feeling drained and exhausted.

Think About This

How could Barbara have approached Tyler differently?

What should Tyler have said to understand Barbara’s goal?

Their differences in Communication Styles can complement each other. Understanding these differences is the key to a successful working relationship. If both parties focus on what they do best, projects can be completed successfully.

Let’s Try That Again

Here’s how the two types could respond to each other if they were more self-aware of their Communication Styles.

Barbara Cole, the Marketing Director for 366 Solar, strolled past the cafeteria. She spotted Tyler Hughes, the Chief Financial Officer, sitting by himself. I wonder if he’s alright with eating lunch on his own? she thought. He always seems to do it. She stopped in her tracks and headed over to him.

What she didn’t know was that Tyler had already seen her pass by. And her coming toward him was the last thing he wanted right now. Barbara was too bubbly for his tastes. Conversations with her always left him exhausted. I just want to eat my lunch in peace.

“Hey, Tyler! Is it alright if I join you for a bit?”

“I think so,” he replied, surprised at her request to join him. Barbara was the type to go up to anybody and talk to them.

“We missed you at the company meetup this weekend. Even Paul was there! What happened?”

“I couldn’t go.”

“Oh, is everything alright?”

“Yes. Why wouldn’t it be?”

Barbara was struck by his response. Why is he always so distant? Or maybe he just likes his space? Realizing that, Barbara scooted backward a bit. There we go. “I only asked because we’d like to see more of you. But I get that we all need some down time.”

“Even you?” Tyler asked.

Barbara laughed. “Yeah, even me. Listen, I realize this may not be the best time and place, but I wanted to mention the funds allocated to social media.”

“What about them? They’re what was approved last meeting.”

“I realize that but I’ve had some ideas. I want increase our awareness among millennials. They are the future, after all, and will help propel us forward into gaining market share once they graduate. ”

     That’s not a bad idea, Tyler thought. “I can see how that’s important. But I haven’t gotten any emails about it.”

“Oh, no, it’s not at that stage yet. Just wanted to bounce some ideas off of you. Nothing definitive.”

“I can try.”

“I’m thinking a push on social media, and, wait, I got it! We’ll do a video, release it on YouTube, push it to go viral.” Barbara felt the floodgates start to loosen. She looked over at Tyler and saw the discomfort on his face. I may be going too fast for him. “Look, how about I come up with something more concrete and bring it to you.”

“I can definitely help you with that,” Tyler replied. “We can look at budgets, set up a timeline for release, analyze possible conversion rates.”

“That’s a great idea! I know that’s not my strong point.” I’ve heard people say Tyler can be cold, but I think they just don’t know how to talk to him. “I appreciate it.”

“Of course.”

“I’ll leave you to your lunch. I’ll send you an email once I have things written down. Maybe by Thursday? First thing? We can meet at my office.”

“Sounds good.” That wasn’t so painful, Tyler thought. He made a mental note to set aside Thursday morning for her. It could prove useful to have that information at the meeting Friday.

Barbara walked away with a new bounce in her step. I’ve got to pitch this to Grayson, she thought. Grayson Orr, their Public Relations Officer, could definitely help whip this into something she could take to Emily and Paul.

Bringing Out The Best In Everyone

People Styles and Order Styles can work together when they are self-aware of how they communicate.

People Styles tend to struggle in areas relating to analysis, organization, and planning, which is an area of strength for Order Styles.

The Analyzer wants to gather as many facts, and as much information, as they can before moving ahead. As you could see from these interactions, this is not something at which Barbara excels.

In this version of events, Barbara was able to identify Tyler’s need for space. In return, Tyler recognized the innovation that she brought to the table and offered his own skills in tempering that into something that would benefit both themselves and the company.