Changing perspective is the basic tool for all change
Looking at any situation from a different perspective opens up new possibilities.
Understanding your own and others’ perspectives paves the way for collaborative, synergistic relationships.
We all have our own perspective, our own unique way of seeing things.
It’s built up from everything we believe and value and everything we have learnt and experienced up to this moment in time.
As a result, our perspective is unique to us. It may be similar to some people and radically different to others.
When we’re faced with a situation, we use our perspective and the information we have available to us at the time, to make what we believe are the right conclusions, judgments and decisions. And we act accordingly.
We may look back sometimes and recognise that, with different information or different circumstances in the moment (more energy, a different mood, a slightly different focus etc), we may have reached a different conclusion. But in the moment, we always get to what we think is best or ‘right’
…and so does everyone else!
Only being able to see things from our perspective can block us from seeing other possibilities, cause problems in our relationships and restrict our potential.
This is true for us as individuals but also for teams, where the team is made up of very similar people. You need a team of people with diverse perspectives and skills to produce well-rounded ideas and avoid skill gaps.
Changing perspective to unlock potential in relationships and teams
We like working with and choose to spend time with people who have a similar perspective to us, because it’s easy. We think similarly, they understand us easily, we understand them, and we tend to agree on things.
The problems can start when you need to have a good relationship with someone who is not like you.
Our different perspectives and inherent preferences for communicating and behaving can lead to misunderstandings.
When this happens, you may find yourself wondering how someone could possibly think they're right, in what they are thinking or doing.
The relationship can be stressful, unproductive or dysfunctional and that can spread to others connected with it. It's a disaster for teams.
The core element of developing good relationship skills and becoming an excellent communicator is being willing to accept and understand another person’s perspective. Stepping into their shoes and seeing the situation as they see it. Taking the time to understand how they come to have the opinion they have, how they operate and communicate.
By doing this you get more information to work with that can help you figure out how to collaborate and find win-win solutions.
Changing perspective to unlock potential in any situation.
We can change our perspective on our own by asking ourselves some questions, but sometimes we can be so stuck in our own perspective that we can’t imagine anything different.
It's like having tunnel vision. We can only see one option.
This can happen in both our personal and professional lives. We may not be able to see a way to resolve our issues or develop new ideas.
We need someone else to help us shift. Someone with a different perspective who can expand our thinking.
Here are a few questions to play with, to help you look at things from a different perspective and generate some new thinking:
What assumptions am I making? What would happen if the opposite were true?
What difference does time make? What will this situation look like in 2 months’ time? What would I have thought about this situation a year ago?
What difference would a change in location make?
Where have I come across something similar in a different context and what can I use from that?
What if were someone else? How would I think about this if I were my mentor, hero or favourite cartoon character?
What if I looked at this situation with more empathetic eyes (for myself or others)?
What information might I be missing that would help me see things differently?
What if I were to choose a different focus?
What is there to learn here? What can I learn that will help me do things differently?
What’s the one thing that if it were to change it, would make the biggest difference? And what are my options for doing that?
And if you’re still stuck in your own perspective, struggling with a relationship or dysfunctional team, perhaps it’s time to explore coaching. Book here for a free call to discuss.