For the past couple years, our firm has been doing an ornament exchange to celebrate the holiday season together! Since ornaments are small, festive gifts, it appeared as a wonderful alternative to a white elephant exchange. There is no pressure to find one gift out of millions that would match everybody’s taste, humor, or style.
As we got closer to the holiday season this year, our team sat down to pick a date for our celebratory ornament exchange. Sitting and sharing at the table together, we realized that there were different perspectives on the ornament exchange. One team member shared that they had a gigantic collection of ornaments at home, and so the exchange wasn’t something that brought out excitement for them. Another team member shared that after a few years of doing the same thing, another form of exchange may be more thrilling.
What seemed like a no-brainer decision to continue with the ornament exchange for some, turned into something to consider.
This meeting at the table was a reminder that each team member’s perspective should be sought after. To continually develop a cohesive team, it is vital that each perspective is welcome. Without them, a decision made for the team may not land as intended.
Beach Ball; An Anecdote to Perspective
At the firm, one of our favorite items to share with others is a stress ball that replicates a beach ball. While a reminder of the beach can reduce stress, there is a deeper meaning that we intend to capture with this beach ball.
When looking at the beach ball from one side, it appears to be red and white in color. However, as you begin to rotate it to the opposing side, the red will fade leaving you to see blue and white. To say that the beach ball is red would be true, and to say that the beach ball is blue would be true. Both perspectives are accurate despite not seeing the same thing.
This analogy prompts us to consider that there are numerous perspectives that can unfold from a singular conversation or event. No two people will see something the same exact way.
It is true that the person who only sees the blue coloring has an accurate understanding. However, they do not have a complete one. Likewise, without the perspective of others, our understanding is limited and incomplete. It is the collection of multiple perspectives that culminates a wholistic view. It is when we collect the diverse perspectives of others that we can make the best decisions, implement new ideas, and engage intentionally with others!
When To Seek Out Other’s Perspectives
Granted, some individuals may be hesitant to share their perspectives. However, with a little bit of intentional curiosity, you will find that others are much more likely share. So, when should you ask for others’ perspectives?
- When you need to make a decision or desire to begin a new initiative, bring people around the table and show genuine interest in what they think! Unique, powerful, and compelling ideas not only exist from person to person but are molded and built through the listening of other’s perspectives.
- Whether you and your team are in a season of change or steadiness, ask for the perspective of those within. Every journey is interpreted differently. By seeking the input of others, you increase the chance of defining success accurately and are better equipped to pivot or enhance as needed.
- It is important to gather the perspectives of others freshly after an event, decision, or initiative has been completed. When you are quick to ask others how they perceive something, it relays a genuine interest that can evoke authentic responses. It is with this understanding that you can create a more complete picture of how to move forward.
The Complete Picture
Every person within a team has a valuable perspective. Part of our perspectives are formulated by the roles and responsibilities that we have. While another big aspect is shaped by personal experiences, behaviors, realizations, and aspirations. Whether it be for an ornament exchange in the holiday season or in brainstorming new ways to reach a business objective, the perspective of each team member is something that can provide unique clarity, ideas, and insight.
Each person on your team represents a different colored stripe on the beach ball. Are you looking at all the colors?