Of course it’s true that today’s Facebook feed – fake news or otherwise – amplifies our personal viewpoints. We only talk to People Like Us. And now we are reaping the result of a giant failure in communication.
Working across different sectors I am regularly struck by the default mechanism we all have of only seeing things from a single perspective.
A teacher doesn’t understand why a business has refused to fund a project –
“but they have loads of money!”
… but the project doesn’t fit the theme chosen by employees or meet any business objectives.
A brand manager doesn’t understand why an artist won’t use his product in a show –
“after all, as the sponsor I’m paying for it!”
… but sponsorship is buying rights of association, not ownership, and artistic integrity is ultimately an element of quality control.
Partnership working is all about achieving mutual objectives and the first step to doing that successfully is understanding the way your partner sees things. As facilitators straddling these different worlds we encourage talking, questioning and – most importantly – listening; stepping out of comfort zones to consider alternatives and the possibility of change.
We often use the example of the blindfolded men touching different parts of an elephant and arguing over the true description of the beast. The one holding the trunk is convinced its like a snake; the one with the leg thinks its a tree; the tail-holder is adamant that an elephant is like a delicate, wispy brush.
Like the rest of us, all know they are right; but unless they communicate effectively and share their views; ultimately all are wrong.