Perspective


A number of years ago, my husband and I were walking down our street and noticed a house with a large, beautiful Christmas tree lit up in the front window. I commented that it was odd they hadn’t decorated it yet. And then we noticed that it was getting closer and closer to Christmas, and they still hadn’t decorated it. This happened year after year. We started referring to their house as the weird house with the undecorated Christmas tree. And then it hit me… We were looking at the backside of the tree. Of course they likely had ornaments and decorations on the front side. Their thinking was likely, “Why put decorations on the side we don’t see?” And our thinking was, “Why don’t you decorate your tree?” Ultimately, we were looking at the same thing, but each had a different perspective. This reminds me of an activity I used to do as a facilitator where we would have a Lego structure hidden under a box with eye slits cut out on each side of the box. Teams had to recreate the structure, but each person could only look through one side of the box. What do you think it took to build the entire structure properly? Everyone needed to participate and contribute. They needed the full 360 degree perspective. Us? We were only seeing the Christmas tree through one slit. Of course, we can use this story to illustrate the importance of teamwork, but I want to talk more about perspective-taking and how it relates to self-awareness. We just wrapped up our last cohort of the C Factor Leadership program for 2021, and when we ask participants what they got out of the program, they often talk about the ability to increase their self-awareness. Not only by the assessments we take them through each week, but also seeking input and feedback from others around them–like a mini 360 degree feedback. It provides them with perspectives they hadn’t previously thought about or had insight into. We’ve also been doing a lot of coaching lately. And our coaching clients often share with us that what they appreciate most about coaching is to have someone repeat back to them what they’ve communicated or, more importantly, how it’s interpreted and challenge them to consider others’ perspectives. Through this increased perspective-taking, they’re able to quickly identify that the ornaments are on the other side. Or they’re able to recognize that those walking by might be wondering why they aren’t decorated! What are you doing to increase your perspective-taking?

Best, Christine