We only see what we want to see

And we only hear what we want to hear because it suits us… it’s easily done but aren’t all mistakes!

Very often in looking for an answer we focus on everything that confirms that answer because it’s easier, quicker and less challenging but the answer you had in mind might not be the right answer for that particular situation.

Yet without the advantage of perspective and the willingness to watch and listen we can become quite myopic – the personal challenge is to hear everything and see everything. In reality this becomes see what you can and hear what you can, question what you see and question what you hear, including your own motives and decision drivers – which are often framed by our own emotions.

Without this commitment your decisions can have quite a devastating impact on individuals, projects and organisations.

Consider the following scenarios:

Staff Appraisals – when seeking performance feedback from peers on a member of the team, the ill thought through comment driven by a lack of: time, consideration and understanding or even personal agenda could shape and form a perception that could take on a life of its own, especially if the originator of the comment was one of influence or position – as we know perception is fact. It could be a negative or a positive perception of an individual that could wrongly result in them being over looked for promotion or over promoted.

Project Research – which is at times is wrongly signed off to support the decision and dependant on how far down the timeline the “decision” is, determines the level of resistance to change. As a young Product Manager I was working on a launch that was running late and when my boss asked to see the target audience feedback on the point of sale, I had to buy time, divert budget and hastily organise focus groups – I was guilty of seeing what I wanted to see / be seen (Hey Ho the arrogance of youth).The initial disappointment from what I heard, saw and read soon turned to gratitude as it led me to significantly change the imagery, which I like to believe significantly changed the sales.

Organisational Mergers and Acquisitions – often fail to get across the line, or go down to the eleventh hour for reasons that with hindsight appear so ridiculously insignificant. I was involved with one acquisition which didn’t get across the line despite completing all the necessary due diligence and box ticking. Some years later I saw the Group FD who was involved at the time and asked him why it hadn’t happen – amazingly it came down to him being “too busy”.

No matter what role you have in your organisation you have a responsibility and an accountability to question what you see and question what you hear, including your own motives and decision drivers, without this commitment your decisions can have quite a devastating impact on individuals, projects and organisations.

Improving the performance of your people, the profitability of your products and the productivity of your process.

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Posted in Company Culture, Decision Making, leadership
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