How are your relationships?

No. I am not asking about your love life with your significant other or interactions with your friends and family. I am talking about how well you play with others in the office. Data architects focus quite a bit on boxes and lines on an ERD but often neglect the importance of good working relationships with team members.

Several years back I attended building better relationships training. The class explained that each of us possesses a social style that dictates how others perceive us. Understanding our social style and recognizing the social styles of coworkers allows us to customize our interactions and be more effective. This concept is known as relationship versatility.

Data modeling is about relationships; not just the lines connecting entities. The data architect is the liaison between different technical and business roles in the development of a data design. Achieving good working relationships is crucial in making the data modeling effort a success. Discussions go faster. Issues are resolved smoother. Complex designs are uncovered earlier.

The four social styles are based on the assertiveness, responsiveness and versatility of our interactions with others. See if you recognize yourself and coworkers in the following four sentences.

  • The analytical data architect is task oriented and a gatherer of information. They work in a formal and structured manner looking for logical and clearly defined patterns.
  • The driver data architect is task oriented and a sharer of information. They are direct and to the point focusing on results and efficiently using their time
  • The amiable data architect is people oriented in their gathering of information. They thrive on open and honest communication and building relationships.
  • The expressive data architect is people oriented and freely shares information. They enjoy stimulating and outgoing discussions without worrying about time limitations.

The power of relationship versatility is knowing how to use these social styles to your advantage. Key in to the person’s behaviors and adapt your message accordingly. If your approach is counter to how the individual works, you will have an ineffective relationship. If you approach the person in the manner they work, your relationship will be good.

The challenge with relationship versatility is being able to modify your behavior. We are often set in our habits and actions. We need to recognize that there are many ways to get to a destination. Customizing this path based on our team members’ social style will definitely help the data architect be a success.

The benefits of relationship versatility are numerous. The team performs more efficiently. Team members are focused on what they do best and in the best manner. Better collaboration yields more skills and knowledge. Trust forms and becomes the foundation for future success.

Learn more at the Data Modeling Zone

I am exploring this topic in greater detail and focused on the data architect role at my Data Modeling Zone 2014 presentation, Relationship versatility and the data modeler. I hope that you can join me in Portland.

Tom Bilcze

I am presenting at Data Modeling Zone 2014 in Portland, Oregon. I hope that you will join me in my sessions: Is your data model a work of art? and Relationship versatility and the data modeler #DMzone

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