I’m visiting our Manchester UK office this week and outside there is a singer, playing guitar and doing a pretty good job. When I walked around over lunch, I stopped and listened to him and thought, “He’s pretty good.” A while later one of the folks that works in the office came back from his lunch and said, “Oh no, he’s back.” I knew there was something going on I wasn’t aware of. I told the people in the office, “He’s not that bad,” but to everyone in the office he was. This was all because their perspective was different than mine.
To me, he was a good street singer who had a strong voice and played the guitar pretty well. To them, he was the guy that stands out front on the street below playing the same three songs for six hours at a time. On top of it, no one knows the songs because they are his own creations. Still not bad songs though (at least from my perspective).
This brought to mind the times our perspectives can be completely different. What you expect as a client can be very different than the perspective of someone that works as Nxtbook. Your perspective can be completely different than your coworker. Isn’t that a consistent problem when there are conflicts between people?
While I know that I try to see things from other peoples’ perspectives, I think that it’s a skill I’ve developed over the years. I also know that many people stop short of trying to understand the perspectives of others, preferring the comfort of their own. When we have communication breakdowns, perspective is a component often not considered.
Yesterday, I had a bad day. It was one of those days that you have when things just don’t go right. So I left work, ran for an hour, and watched a soccer game in a pub while eating fish and chips and a pint. I went back to my apartment and thought about what was really bothering me. I realized it was just the perspective that I was looking at things with that needed adjusting. So I did.
I woke up with a new perspective and the day was much better because of it. Such a simple shift in perspective has the ability to yield dramatically different results in how you think and behave.
I think we as an organization need to think more about other people’s perspectives, whether they be coworkers, clients or just people we meet in our day-to-day lives. Often, alternative perspectives won’t change your fundamental beliefs or suddenly transform you into a different person, but it will always bring you the ability to see things through another person’s eyes. We at Nxtbook do a good job of thinking about people and working hard to help them but I think sometimes it comes more from our compulsion to be helpful rather than a thorough understand of the perspective our customer. When we couple that helpful nature with the insight gained through someone else’s field of vision, I’m confident we will really be in a great place.
April 24th, 2014 by Michael Biggerstaff