Explore a real-world example of this strategy and its effects. See an illustration of the limitations that emerge when leaders view every challenge through their own personal lens versus actively pursuing other perspectives and opinions that may not align with their own.
- I recently heard about a fascinating program that's held annually in the museum at the Rhode Island School of Design. It's called Docs and Cops. This creative experiment uses artwork as a strategic tool, and it helps people better understand others' perspectives. As you might guess, the participants for the annual Docs and Cops event include approximately 10 physicians and 10 police officers. Very different industries, yet the participants are all highly skilled and extensively trained. They know how to quickly analyze complex situations and implement solutions that could have life or death consequences. As the event begins, a trained guide leads these doctors and police officers silently through part of the museum. They're given time to look at a select group of paintings and sculptures. Afterwards, the participants meet together in small groups to answer this question. What did you see? Of course, physically, we know they all saw the same thing. But their perceptions of what they saw were remarkably different. For instance, an abstract image that looks like a crime scene to detectives, might be perceived as a collection of cells and neurons by the physicians. When asked what they remember about a more literal painting, the detectives might recall an open door or a set of footprints in the snow, elements that didn't even register with the doctors. The point is people with different backgrounds tend to notice different things. It's not about having opposing opinions or competing agendas. It's just a different view. After repeating this program for more than a decade, the organizers report that it consistently sheds light on the thought processes and variations of different people. This museum experiment proves the point that is highly relevant for business leaders to understand. Our actual vision is subconsciously filtered through the lens of our own individual experiences and perspectives. What we know shapes what we see. So if your job as a leader is to create a team that can solve some really complex problems or come up with a mind blowing innovation, you can get the best results by using strategic collaboration. Deliberately choosing people who have different perspectives, and or experiences. Each of them can look at a problem and see it in a unique way, adding greater value to the process. Think of a current challenge your team is facing that will require collaboration. What kind of people could you add to the group to shake up your team's thinking? Someone from another division? A customer, strategic partner? Who could help infuse a different perspective? Is there a way that you could change up the venue or data so that your team sees things from a completely different vantage point? Strategic collaboration changes the game. It might seem counterintuitive to bring together people with diverse opinions who are guaranteed to disagree. But that's how you elevate the quality of a team's ideas and outcomes.
- Adopting the strategic pause
- Disrupting your thinking
- Balancing hard data with soft intelligence
- Reevaluating your to-do list
- Communicating to influence and engage
- Approaching challenges as a novice
- Blazing new trails
- Conquering the chaos
- Enduring leadership attributes