Every time I go to a baseball game, I’m amazed by the screams heard from the upper grand stands when a batter hits the ball into the air. Unfortunately, the same excitement cannot be felt when you are sitting at ground level because you know it’s just a pop fly. Or how about when you open up your bedroom blinds and smile at the bright and sunny morning, ready to kick start the day? Meanwhile, your spouse grumbles with their pillow over their head, still feeling the effects of last night’s festivities. I guess it just turns out to be a matter of perspective! There are literally hundreds of other examples as to how perspective can influence the way you and others view the same set of facts so differently. So as a business leader, are you certain you’re really viewing the facts, or is your perspective keeping you from seeing the reality of the situation?
Context and perspective are two very important insights that most executives forget to share with one another when discussing solutions. Most of the time it is not a purposeful deception because each party assumes that the other is totally aligned on the desired outcome. In reality, there are many nuances that exist to develop the right solution and, depending on where you sit with the problem, the desired solution can be quite different. The good news is that, over time, context and perspective are shared and the group comes to a conclusion or the leader just outlines what they want. Unfortunately, this process takes time and time is a real enemy to your business success.
So why are context and perspective not shared when defining a desired solution for a problem?
Here is what I have observed:
1) Speed: The need to solve the problem now creates a tactical view of the issue and negates the strategic implications the solution can and will have on the organization as a whole.
2) Assumptions: People assume that what they believe is a shared belief amongst everyone, and history has shown us that this is a very dangerous assumption.
3) Ignorance: Leaders, at times, are unaware of their own thinking process when it comes to identifying the problem, its effect on overall business, and the need for a comprehensive solution.
4) Culture Over Results: In some organizations it is frowned upon to share your thoughts unless it is in alignment with the “corporate way”.
5) Fear: This is the biggest one; the fear of ridicule or disagreement over one’s perspective keeps people from sharing their thoughts. The irony is that if you focus on keeping yourself safe and don’t come to the best solution, you are actually putting yourself at greater risk.
So if you have experienced being in a meeting, watching the disagreements and confusion around what you think is an obvious solution, then take a minute and think. Have you shared your perspective on the problem? Are all of the participants aligned around the desired results for a solution? If not, take the time to share your thought process with them and you will be surprised how quickly the team will discover an impactful solution once they’ve viewed the problem from your seat.
My goal for this blog has always been two-fold. First, I have the opportunity to share my insights and years of experience with you, the reader. And second, I myself get to hear your thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc. To make this blog a mutually beneficial experience, I would ask that you take the time to post your comments, your questions and your own war stories from your years in the business. Let’s use this blog to generate dialogue on the issues we’ve all faced in our businesses and work together to come to some great solutions.