I got a project where I had to trouble shoot and resurrect a dormant website application. The client was not a computer geek but an expert in his own field. I managed to get the system up on a local server in first few hours I was allotted for the work but met with a road block thereafter. The application was up but several of the functions were not working correctly. I sent a note to the client telling him that it would take some more time with a reason that the code did not include any documentation and was not well written. The later was not a fully correct statement though. I was given another few hours to try. I decided a different approach and managed to get a lot of things working without making many changes to the code contrary to initial effort. But, there were still some parts not working and I sent a note back saying “I am sure you would agree, everyone has their own style of coding and sometimes it is difficult to understand and follow other person’s code, especially if there is no documentation” which was true. I received following reply from the client.
“I understand that geniuses in any field require time to orient and adapt to different models/ tools. It is always a tricky and sometimes humbling moment. The greatest experts, knowing that there are so many paths, are not overly judgmental at the outset of another’s efforts. However, they are acutely discriminating, with an innate Universal sense of what is optimal proportion and scale. If everything were standard, there would be order at the expense of creativity and serendipity. The latter is often the key for innovation. So – in short – no problem.”
I was flattered by the response. He so eloquently put forward the basic human nature and approach for everyone in competitive circumstances. It is true that in face of challenge in our field of work or otherwise, we fail to look at things from other person’s perspective. And the common human nature is to regard, the other person’s work or point of view, as of low standard or incorrect.