Prior to joining SK Chase, I came from a hotel background. Hotels are made up of many departments, involving lots of people working to different agendas. Of course the vision was always to provide outstanding service to our guests, however, the journey in how we arrived at our vision was often interpreted differently.

This can be influenced by many factors and often are personal to the function head making the decision. I often wondered why meetings could take up so much of our time. Have you ever thought, “Oh, here we go, another meeting to discuss a meeting”? I am sure many, if not all of us have been confronted with this thought in the past, if not now.

It is only in my short career with SK Chase that I have come to value the importance of having and using a ‘context’.

Context means: ‘the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood’.

Simply put, a context brings meaning and makes decision making easier.

Essentially it’s one word (sometimes two!) that when applied correctly will help us decide the best thing to do. By applying a context we determine the ‘why’ piece rather than getting lost in the question or the ‘content’.

Everything we do at SK Chase is contained within a context and I have never known the importance of having a context prior to having put this into practice.

Some people are better at this than others. One of my colleagues always introduces her contribution with a context. It makes the understanding of what the presenter is conveying all the more clear. This is something that I am aware of and trying to make a conscious effort with, so that in turn it becomes habit.

On a personal note, I have found that using a context is extremely powerful. Recently we were researching a city break. Like many people, I have a bucket list of destinations that I want to visit. Once we had the dates in place and began the process of researching destinations, it soon became obvious that our “bucket lists” were not aligned. I had my heart set on Reykjavik, but my partner was not so keen. My reasons were not necessarily fair as a couple, but had meaning to me as an individual. Once I had gotten over the initial resistance, we discussed the reasons for the break and came up with the context of ‘vibrant’. It made our decision much easier. We easily managed to short list this to two destinations and with one of them not suiting the dates we had already booked off work, a city was selected.

What I have learnt is that if we all have a shared context, it makes arriving at a fair and honest decision much easier, making for effective use of time in business and personal spaces.

Now, off to plan my next city break, using a context to help me of course!