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How do you overcome different perspectives?

Perspective a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.

So, the dictionary description of ‘perspective’ is:
“A particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view”

However, there is a more technical description of:

“The art of representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other”

And this reminded me of something an old boss said to describe perspective or differing points of view.

He used an analogy of ‘treetops’.

Now this was over 20 years ago, so you’ll have to bear with me on this.

There was a rather heated discussion in a large team meeting and two members of the team seemed to be perpetual logger heads. They couldn’t see eye-to-eye on anything and each week the animosity between them simply grew and grew. It finally got to a point where it was consuming the entire meeting.

Enough was enough and my boss decided that something needed to be done.  So instead of coming down like a ton of bricks, he felt that another approach was needed.  They both had their own perspectives and they appeared to differ dramatically.

He used an analogy that featured a tree on top of a hill.

He drew the following on the whiteboard:

At the bottom of the hill on either side was a person.  Both people were peering up at the same tree sitting on top of the hill.
He turned to the room and asked, ‘What do you see?’

Everyone chimed in that they could indeed see this picture of a hill, tree and two people.

He said, “The tree is our goal”.

“You are looking at that goal from different perspectives – and neither of you are wrong”.

“We will take all your ideas and viewpoints and you’ll find that they all work together, and we’ll collectively achieve our goal”.

The room fell silent, and we then spent the next couple of hours working together. And we succeeded. All the viewpoints generally slotted together.

It was a lesson I’ll never forget and helps me to this day.

How do you overcome different perspectives?

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