Intruequest Idea Exchange

Saturday, May 30, 2009


This past weekend my husband and I were driving away in the car when I remarked about “all of the bird droppings all over the car.” My half of the windshield was covered. My husband, who was driving, slowed the car down and started looking around. “Which car?” he asked. I was stunned. Wasn’t it obvious? It was all right in front of us and more than half of the windshield was covered. Yet, he didn’t see it. I often see this in business settings. Huge rifts occur when people think they are talking about the same thing and later come to discover that they are actually talking about different topics, or may be talking about the same topic but coming from totally different perspectives. People can get so fixed on their “picture”, especially when their “picture” is so obvious to them, that they can’t even begin to fathom that their colleagues have a different point of perspective or see a completely different “picture.” A leader’s job requires that she bring out all of the multiple perspectives that exist and to simultaneously manage all of those multiple perspectives. This requires the ability to not get fixed on our own pictures, to ask questions and be curious about what another person is “seeing.” How do you see beyond your obvious view? How do you help others understand the multiple realities that co-exist all at the same time?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this topic. There is little that fascinates me more. I believe that before I can "help others", I first have to get myself straight. I mean that the first piece of work is for me to remember (and truly "get it") that multiple realities almost always exist(and I find that many people have trouble buying this assertion). The second piece is to move myself into a place of true appreciation of differences -- I guess this fits with your "be curious" notion -- including moving off of my own position to one of neutrality. In other words, as a leader, I change my perpective from "how can others be seeing things differently from the way I see them?" (which keeps "my view" in the equation) to a more neutral kind of curiousity by asking "what are the many different ways to see this" (absent the comparison to "mine"!) If I can do this well and with ease, then I am better equiped to help others do it. I guess I would add that this whole exercise takes a lot of time, often more than any of us feel like we have, and of course awareness at any given moment that things are not as aligned as they seem, which takes astute attention. For example, it is so typical for people to hold a completely different picture of the meaning on one simple word. Just last week, a number of us were talking about leaving a meeting with "a plan", and in further conversation were able to determine that those words meant something different to each of us. Getting there required that us to slow ourselves down considerably.

May 31, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

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