We all filter and weigh data differently. We come with different assumptions and perspectives. It’s no wonder that we are so far apart sometimes when finding solutions. How can we understand where others are coming from to decide where we all should go? Below are three ways to understand other people’s perceptions of reality.
“Disagreements are not just differences of opinions or attitude but actual differences of how people see the event.” – Scott W. Williams in Making Better Business Decisions
Have you ever listened to someone push for a course of action that seems totally wrong and maybe even clueless?
Have you ever been in a discussion where all the facts are laid out and then someone makes a recommendation that seems to ignore those facts?
We all filter and weigh data differently. We come with different assumptions and perspectives. It’s no wonder that we are so far apart sometimes when finding solutions.
If planning is getting from “here” to “there”, we need consensus on where “here” is. It’s like the old mall directories or trail maps that show you “you are here.”
Here are some ways to understand other people’s perceptions of reality
- SWOT analysis or similar planning tools allow you to define the current environment. The biggest benefit of a SWOT analysis may not be getting the analysis right, but having conversions so that everyone explains their perception of the current environment. This may help the group form a shared perception and lays out some assumptions for the planning discussions.
- In every analysis or recommendation, start with the assumptions. Make the person explicitly state their assumptions and how their solutions fit those assumptions.
- A popular way to reduce a large number of options (e.g., problems to fix or solutions to those problems) is for everyone to vote on the most important ones. For example, everyone can vote for three out of a list of 20 options. Before voting, have everyone explain the criteria they are using the place their votes.
I wish you a clear understanding of your perceptions and of those you work with. I wish you well.
- Rob Stephens
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