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Are other people crazy…?

Are other people crazy? Or is it me? My friends would probably say that it’s me. Did you ever have the feeling that people didn’t understand you? As if everybody is speaking a different language? Talk all you will, people don’t seem to ‘get it’. This is because people have unique ‘filters’ through which they see the world. It’s their personal perspective on the world, which is part of their values, beliefs, upbringing.

Imagine Jane and Joe, two colleagues who are very different from each other. Jane dreams of developing a new product, and how much opportunities it will bring, all the people who will buy it, how much fun it will be. Joe sees the amount of work it will take, the risks it involves, procedures that need to be followed, things that might go wrong and did go wrong in the past. Make these two persons responsible for launching a new product and the likelihood of disagreement is high.

You see, neither of them is right or wrong. We need people like Jane to dream up new things and make a brighter world come true, but we need people like Joe to make sure we don’t miss any steps along the way (thereby landing us in the mud). If Jane and Joe are not aware of their inner game, the fact that they each have different perspectives on the world, then disagreements between them can turn intensely acrimonious.

Or, just as bad, maybe they don’t have any conflict at all. They stay polite and friendly to each other, but don’t really talk about how to launch the product. Thereby avoiding conflict, but also getting nowhere with their project.

The trick here is to be aware of what your own unique filters are, your perspective. And then to allow for the fact that other people see the world differently. Instead of concluding that people must be crazy, we need to become intensely curious about how people see the world and where and how this is different from our perspective. Because this may help us improve the way we work and achieve better outcomes. It’s where conflict can be turned into growth.

Have you ever had disagreements where you were unable to see the other person’s point of view? How did you resolve it? And were you ever able to ‘helicopter’ over a discussion and see all perspectives? How did it make you feel? Become intensely curious about filters…

See you next time, and thanks for your support.

Warm regards Tim

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