Multiple Intelligence – Part III

This is Part Three of my project to explore different examples of multiple intelligence that I’ve encountered and how these incidences affected my approach to everything from customer service to working with colleagues. Read Part One & Part Two.


In the public affairs department where I currently work, it’s our responsibility to create promotional materials for the library’s events and programs. When another department has something going on that they want to promote, they contact us. We have certain requirements when people contact us for these things, certain pieces of information that we must have in order to do our job properly.

Of course, there are always some people who never provide us with the necessary information, no matter how many times we tell them what we need.

There’s one person in particular who is notorious for never giving us the information we need in order to do what he asks. As is normal in situations like this, one day some of us in PA were kvetching about him amongst ourselves. I made the statement that trying to get him to give us what we ask for is a hopeless case – our needs just don’t make sense to him. I’m not even sure he realizes that he’s not giving us what we need to do our job. His brain just isn’t wired to see things that way.

After I made this comment, I realized that my co-workers assumed that I was disparaging this man. I actually didn’t mean it that way at all! I find him to be strikingly intelligent – but his is quite a unique expression of intelligence. The world makes sense to him in a way that’s very different from most other people – and it’s certainly very different than how we handle things in our department.

I find that it’s easier for me to let him envision his projects his own way, and then I take on the job of translating that into our departmental process. Expecting him to translate himself into our way of doing things is largely counter-productive.

Likewise, there are a couple of other people in other library departments who also pose regular challenges for us. The essential issue is this: these people aren’t marketers. They may come to us with general ideas of what they want, they may identify specific goals, but there’s nothing in their training or experience that enables them to envision the best strategy to enact their ideas to meet their goals. That’s our job, and it works better for them if we work with them on their terms, instead of requiring them to work with us on ours.

These people are all very good at what they do! They’re smart, well-educated, experienced professionals. They’re just not marketers, and they don’t have the necessary background to work well within a marketing paradigm.

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