“Every Monitor Is Slightly Different”

An interesting thing happens when you work from your office in your home (especially if you happen to have an inquisitive 9-year-old daughter studying your every move)… You get to re-learn some important things.

I was reviewing some logo designs before going to a client meeting last week. I opened the files on my laptop and then dragged them to my large monitor to see them more closely. As the window moved from one screen to the other, my daughter blurted out from behind me, “Hey! Those colors just changed!” I didn’t think much of it and simply responded, “Yeah… every monitor is different, honey.”

What do you mean ‘every monitor is different’?

Each monitor displays an image differently.

This led to a quick lesson in how each monitor displays colors slightly differently and the need for a system such as the Pantone Matching System to standardize colors so that we all know exactly which color should be used. She’s a bright girl and understood the concept immediately. I, however, was just starting to re-discover what this means on another level.

People are like computer monitors in this sense. We each have our own lens that alters the way we perceive the world around us. What I envision a beautiful deep blue to be is different than what you envision, but we both know what PMS 294 is. And this is a good thing!


The artist in me sees this analogy as what makes life a beautiful pallet (embracing and appreciating the differences between us). And, that’s cool. However, from a leadership standpoint, this isn’t exactly the best news. When a CEO says, “We need to increase sales”, each individual isn’t supposed to have a unique perspective on what that means. It’s pretty cut and dried: WE NEED TO INCREASE SALES!!!

My friends at Phase 2 Interactive addressed this point very well in one of their Five Guiding Principles (never mind that the first one is “Everyone you meet is Brian Blake”!). They call it the Dub Grissom Rule:

It is not enough to communicate to be understood…
you must communicate in such a way as to not be misunderstood.

While each person has a personal lens through which they interpret the world, an effective leader must find ways to cut through these lenses to effectively communicate and ensure each team member does not misunderstand the message. Unfortunately, there is no single, correct way to accomplish this task.

Part of being a leader is being able to accurately assess your situation to determine the best way to accomplish your goals. Obviously, communication is the crux of this solution. Just remember, every monitor is slightly different.