The Power of Perspective
Sometimes, while sharing your opinion on something, someone other person disagrees with it, which eventually leads to conflict. You may wonder: "What’s their problem? Can't they see that I'm right?" Have you ever understood out why such situations occur? It’s obvious that we tend to always look at the problem from only one perspective- our own. However, looking at a problem from multiple perspectives enables you to find better solutions, especially if you have a lot of points to discuss. In many situations, conflicts can be mitigated if people put themselves in others’ shoes. As iron sharpens iron, one person can sharpen the skills of another. To achieve better negotiation outcomes, people should try to view things from the other party’s perspective, clearly understand their needs, and then proceed accordingly.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change
Embracing external perspectives
Businesses must continually look at their business from the outside in. It’s easy for a business to get trapped in the swing of operations, therefore losing sight of the perspective of their customers and the greater market. Even the best of us can get ourselves stuck in a venus fly trap of self-reliance when we could have used some outrospection to gain a better angle.
It’s therefore imperative for B2B and B2C businesses to clarify their value proposition and anticipate customer needs, threats, and opportunities in order to generate value. Customers will pay for a product or service offered if they believe the transaction is personal to them. Other competitors may be reaching customers better than your business. Don’t be an ostrich with your head in the sand! Pay attention to the market. Get involved in cross-functional projects. Connect with your customers and identify touchpoints for improvement. Meet people outside of your network. You’ll be wonderfully surprised with what you can gain by maintaining an external perspective.
If you work in a firm, you will inevitably run into issues with employees that necessitate resolution. When managing workers, it's important to keep in mind what employees want and what they are likely to be most apprehensive about. As a manager or owner of the business, your perspective is naturally going to be centered around your margins, the replacement value of the employee including training costs, their performance, and effectiveness within their respective role. From the employee’s perspective, he or she is likely predominantly focused on compensation and benefits.
Compare what you personally think from your perspective and compare that to the perspective of the employee. Do these perspectives differ? If they do, is there a solution?
Sometimes there might be. For example, an employee might want a raise and if his or her performance is commensurate with their expectations, then it may be justifiable for both parties.
“But, how do I develop multiple perspectives?”
Fundamentally, you need to have the open-mindedness to seek out other perspectives for this to work. For some, this is an easy feat. For others, it is much less so. That being said, openness becomes easier over time. So don’t fret!
Let’s say that you’re an incredibly talented marketing director. You’re convinced that you know exactly what you’re doing with this promotional campaign! Suddenly, your team member comes along and points out flaws in your marketing approach. Stop and listen to what your coworker has to say! Implementing an alternative can be a highly worthwhile endeavor!
Avoid Confirmation Bias.
Most people are susceptible to this, but it’s entirely inconsistent from what’s rational. You should want to know where you might be wrong and encourage outside perspectives to improve the odds that you’re making the right decision. Avoid simply reaching out to people who agree with you. If you stick to what you know, you’re essentially confirming your own perspective, not gaining a new one! You might have a hard time identifying blind spots without adopting another angle.
Being truthful at all costs is important to get at the root of all problems. Continuous feedback is fundamental to positive training and improvement.
Perspective vs. Reality
It’s critical for any company to place the utmost importance on truth since perspective can be different from reality. If someone has an opinion, be sure to question their credibility. Is what they’re saying knowledgeable or are they simply guessing? Are they fair or biased?
To increase your odds of success, it’s important to recognize what you don’t know. When confronted with a problem, first consider whether you have all the information you need. If not, check with credible sources to help you fill in any gaps.
Furthermore, managers should strive to establish a culture in which everyone has the right to share their perspectives. Provide employees with your thoughts on how they might approach their tasks and/or how and why you would perform them, but don’t micromanage and tell them precisely what to do. Don’t forget to frequently communicate and check-in.
You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.
Make sure to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. For example, some may be better at understanding broader trends in their industry while others will be more skilled at recommending certain operational and investment maneuvers to help adapt to these expected changes. These perspectives, stemming from different skill sets and strengths/weaknesses, can naturally complement each other and help formulate more effective approaches to work.
If your company is using formulas, algorithms, CRM software, or machine learning/AI models to help you make better operational, financial, and investment decisions, it’s always important to have a clear, human understanding of what these models entail.
Many firms have made bad business decisions or gone belly-up due to over-reliance on something that was supposedly objective and free from human-based error. They had sophisticated models informing them what to do, but they didn’t have a deep understanding of the cause and effect relationships. Most of the time, they fell victim to relying too heavily on what happened in the past to inform the future. And when the future ended up being different from the past and they didn’t deeply understand the logic behind what they were doing, they ran into problems.
This raises a crucial question: Do you understand the inputs and assumptions that go into your formulas, algorithms, or models these to the extent where you can affirm that what you’re doing is sound? Or are you indiscriminately following them?
There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
How does OKR help with Multiple Perspectives?
OKR Methodology, by its design, helps you to look at a problem from multiple perspectives. For example, let’s say you want to establish a new retail location in Manhattan. That technically would be owned by the CMO or CRO, but needs to be considered from multiple perspectives of various departments such as Finance, Sales, Marketing, HR, Facilities, etc. The CMO or CRO’s OKR may look like this:
As you can see, this OKR Methodology forces you to think through the Objective of “Store Launch” from different perspectives. OKR planning signifies this level of planning in the initial stages ensures commitment from all parties and also flushes out all the details, avoiding surprises down the line.
Most people will say or agree that it’s important to step back and consider alternative perspectives when making decisions. But how many are truly doing this?
Are they genuinely open-minded and inquisitive about considering outside perspectives, or are they simply looking for arguments that confirm their own biases? When they encounter perspectives different from their own, are they viscerally rejecting it or truly considering them through the other person’s eyes to consider how accurate and logical it is? Are they seeking the right counsel?
Flexibility comes from having multiple choices; wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.
It’s important to consider the question of perspective relative to reality. While it's critical for managers to consider the perspectives of employees, customers, investors, or any other important business entities, companies must emphasize facts rather than giving legitimacy to an untruth simply because of someone’s life experiences, emotional biases, ideological inclinations, and whatever else. Some customers won’t be satisfied due to a mismatch between their needs and the nature of what your business provides. Employees may retaliate. Investors may not align with your objectives and key results.
You may not have all the answers. The good news? You don’t need them. Just broaden your perspective and ask the right questions to lead you to the right answers.