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November 2, 2012

Whose Perspective?

Different business situations require different glasses. I have been in numerous meetings over the last several weeks, looking at things from a different perspective as I am now in a different job working for a different company. What has surprised me the most is the perspective that many people take when they are in a meeting with other people. Whether they are from their own department, vendors, customers, or different folks from different parts of the company, it is easy for us to get stuck in seeing things the same way.

The perspective that I usually take (born over years of thinking this way I guess) is to try and see things from the other person’s perspective first before trying to draw some conclusions based on what I want to do or think should be done. It’s the old Steven Covey “seek first to understand, than to be understood” principle from his book Seven Habits of Highly effective people. I have found the most success in business comes from when I try to first see things from the other person’s perspective.

How do you approach meetings at work? Do you see things from only your perspective, not even honoring what others are thinking? Do you come into a meeting with a thought on how something is going to work before the meeting even starts?

A real Christian Businessman would try to first look at things from the other person’s perspective, trying to understand what is driving their decision or approach. If they are from a different department, for example, what is the metric that they use to judge success? It may be completely different from the one that you use. Do they measure success by the number of completed transactions, and you measure it by margin dollars? Do they measure things by the number of people that attended church this weekend and you measure it by number of people who made a decision to follow Christ? You can see where I am going with this type of thinking. Many different perspectives can be in one room at a time. And the more people that are involved, the more different perspectives you will get.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 NIV

By understanding what the bible teaches us about honoring other people’s thoughts and perspectives, and loving one another, it can only serve to help us all be better people in our workplace (and in life!).

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