The Power of Perspective

  • Tired of the battle between “the business” and the project team?
  • Can’t get the buy-in of the executives?
  • Looking to grow?
  • Looking to mature in your career and your relationships?
  • Looking to make a difference in the lives of those around you through your contribution, wisdom and insights?
  • Want to do something different?

Then chances are at some point you will be forced to look inward. You will need to assess what you believe and how you see the world.

You see, the World, “just is”!

It does as it does, day in and day out, with no regard for your perspective of it. However as humans, we create our realities by the perspectives in which we filter the external information and the stories we tell based on those perspectives.

In today’s blog, I want to give an example of perspectives on projects and teach you how to facilitate a quick exercise that you can perform with your project teams to assist you in:

  • Improving  collaboration
  • Streamlining project communications
  • Improving trust
  • Improving efficiency
  • Delivering more profitable projects
  • Maturing
  • Influencing others and
  • Driving the organizational change you as a leader are called to create!

On a typical CRM project, you have many stakeholders.

  1. End users
  2. Project Managers
  3. C-Suite
  4. Project Sponsor
  5. Subject Matter Experts
  6. Business Unit Heads
  7. External Consultants
  8. Help Desk Resources
  9. Application Owners
  10. Business Analyst
  11. Testers
  12. Training Staff
  13. Corporate Communications Team

Each of these people have different drivers, different personal motivators,  and different roles that incentivize them to care about different outcomes.

As you can see from this illustration, a task as simple as gathering requirements to configure a CRM system can be greatly skewed by each individuals motivators, beliefs, incentives, and perspectives.

Awareness of these biases and performing a group review prior to construction can help to mitigate the above scenario but doing the below exercise with your project team is an experiential way to  mature the groups thinking and drive collaboration.


What you will need:

  • White Board
  • Large piece of foam core board or a room divider
  • Dry Erase Marker
  • 2 or more people
  • Depending on the layout of the room you may need 2 large sticky note pages to cover your white board as people enter the room.

The Setup:

Prior to anyone entering the room draw a large circle on the white board.

Down the center draw a vertical line.

On the right side draw angled lines filling in the circle.

Leave the left side blank.

So your drawing should look like this:

Perspective Circle

Next, put the foam core board (or room divider) up vertically in the middle- dividing the circle in 1/2.

If necessary cover with large sticky notes and invite your team in.

The Execution:

Have 1/2 of the group go to the left side of the room and the other 1/2 go to the right.

Remove the covers from the circle and ask each side to describe what they see on the white board.

Encourage them to defend their perspective with “the truth”.

Ask them which side is “right”.

Draw a stick figure on each side and talk about point of view.

Then remove the divider and draw the stick figures standing next to each other at the bottom- so they can see both sides of the circle.

Discuss how shifting our perspective shifts what we are able to see and in turn shifts our truth.

Ask the team how might this apply on our project?

What are ways we can move to see the other side of things?

Explain this model is how wars occur- when each party stands on their side swearing that they are right and the other side is wrong.

Cool exercise if you take the time to facilitate it!

BUT there is more. 

This isn’t rocket science and most people already KNOW they should look at things from other peoples point of view. So then WHY don’t we?

We are wired for self preservation, therefore we naturally care more about being right and being right is based on “OUR” view. There is nothing “wrong” with this- it just is!

The trick lies in noticing and choosing something different in order to meet others where they are. How do I do this?

I do what is called “Triggering”.

I tie a behavior that I want to do or get better at with something I already do naturally.

For example:  If I want to walk every morning, I tie walking with feeding the dogs. Every morning, I go downstairs to feed the dogs, the treadmill is right there, so it triggers me to remember I want to walk. So, I get on the treadmill and walk while the dogs are out for their morning break. I’ve also tied walking on the treadmill to practicing Italian, so once on the treadmill I open Duolingo and start my Italian lesson.

In the scenario of shifting my thinking or perspective, I tied thinking about others perspective to the feeling of frustration. Whenever I feel frustrated I ask myself, “I wonder what the other person is feeling?” and I try to make up as many stories as I can from multiple points of view. This works on projects, it works in traffic, it works with your kids!

Triggering takes shifting your perspective from a good concept, to an actionable practice and action is what drives change!

Happy changing!


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