One man’s fish is another man’s poisson

26 11 2010

Working with a team this morning on perspective and how your perspective affects not just how you attempt to solve a problem, but especially how you will frame the problem in the first place.

The practical application for this team was around “completion”. As a client-focussed team with very “ideas and systems” orientation (Blue / Yellow Org Focus in Birkman terms), “completion” for them was a concept that, for them, revolved around “having the ideas and then handing them over in the form of a system set out in reports and manuals”.

From the client’s perspective – especially a client with a more Operational (Red) or Sales (Green) perspective this is of course somewhat deficient. For the Green perspective, completion is “you’ve had the idea and managed to get buy in from all my team, so that we are all running with your idea now”. For the Red perspective, completion is “whether or not any ideas are involved, has my business changed for the better? If not then the job isn’t finished…”

That may seem so obvious, stated in those terms, that you wonder how this could ever have become an issue. Of course it is all about what you can and can’t see without help. So, before you think the less of my client team, I wonder what perspectives you have that fail to synchronise with your clients’ expectations? It happens a lot more than you can… see!

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One response

1 12 2010
Andy Murphy

So true Jon. One of my favourite aphorisms, “to a hammer, everything is a nail” captures this beautifully.

I see this all the time. To me a problem looks like a pricing one, but to a project manager it’s a process issue. And to a marketeer it’s a failure to understand the customer needs.

I don’t believe that all perspectives are equally useful so perhaps the starting point (which most people do implicitly) is to choose a perspective first.

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