The Importance of People "Would you mind doing this our way?" We are so well intentioned. Nearly everyone, it seems, talks a good game when it comes to being open, accepting others' differences, and staying on top of our fast-changing world. If we were to ask you, "Will you be open with us?" or "Would you do this our way?" you'd probably respond, "Of course!" And you'd most likely mean it. But life, as we know all too well, just isn't that simple. Accepting others' differences is a difficult thing to do for even the most open-minded individual. One way that we deal with differences-in looks, behavior, attitudes, or anything else-is through name-calling: "He's such an eager beaver." "She's kind of a motor mouth." "He's as skinny as a bean pole." And on and on. Name-calling is a convenient way of cataloging or labeling an individual's characteristics. It's one of the most natural things we do. Nowhere does name-calling have more impact than at work. Our co-workers, bosses, subordinates, and customers provide a wealth of material for name-calling, whether we think these things or actually say them. That colleague down the hall who insists on bursting into your office every time he's got something to say, regardless of how little you may welcome the intrusion, is dubbed a chatterbox. That customer who insists on reading every word of every document-twice-is known as a nitpicker. The employee who always wants to do things her own way is called a rebel. And the superior who never gives you praise no matter how hard you work is referred to as a coldhearted jerk. And it isn't even time for your morning coffee break! The fact is each of us has his own style, his own preferences, and his own ways of facing life's challenges. One person's laid-back style is another person's lack of motivation. Your thinking out loud is our annoying distraction. Someone's need to keep up with change is someone else's conviction to not fix what ain't broken. Those differences in style can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and resentment. And in the process feelings get hurt, communication channels break down, and a host of organizational illnesses proliferate, from absenteeism to alcoholism. Left unchecked, productivity and profits, to say nothing of morale, will inevitably plummet. At work our good intentions are further tested by the increasingly diverse nature of our jobs and workplaces. Almost every imaginable culture and gender truth is being challenged. It's rare these days that someone stays with a company for more than a few years; we're almost expected to jump from job to job, and even career to career, over the course of our work lives. Everything about the workplace seems to be in flux; the technology, the language, our job descriptions, our ethics, and sometimes our very selves. Wherever you sit in your organization-at the top, middle, or bottom-the challenges are greater, the pace is quicker, and "the future" is closer than ever before. The ability of some companies to survive and even thrive amid all this turmoil is directly linked to the degree with which employees and management communicate effectively with one another. We're not talking necessarily about an open and frank exchange of views, or about becoming best friends with your bosses, colleagues, and subordinates. We're talking about turning the many differences among us into powerful tools instead of divisive intrusions. We're talking about putting our good intentions to work in a way in which everybody wins. We're talking about Typewatching. Typewatching is a constructive response to the inevitability of name-calling. Labels are perfectly natural; that's how we distinguish one thing or person from another. Typewatching is based on the notion that as long as we're going to label one another, weKroeger, Otto is the author of 'Type Talk at Work How 16 Personality Types Determine Your Success on the Job', published 2002 under ISBN 9780440509288 and ISBN 0440509289.