Earlier this week I was involved in a long-term vision planning session at our church. I love strategy sessions like this, because any strategy session I’ve ever been a part of, be it for work, church, or family, has yielded a number of differing perspectives and ideas from the people assembled. Never once has everyone in a group shown up with the exact same perspective. In fact, if that were to ever happen, I’d assume that the wrong people had been assembled for the task.
Different perspectives are crucial in setting direction and strategy, or for making decisions that will impact a larger group of people. However, they can cause tension and frustration, which isn’t a bad thing. Group members just need to understand these key points regarding peoples’ perspectives:
- The perspectives of others are just a real and true to them as our perspectives are to us. As a result, we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss someone’s perspective simply because it doesn’t align with our own.
- When we fail to consider the perspectives of others, we miss an opportunity to get a better understanding about how others within the larger group may be thinking. If on person has a particular perspective, it’s likely other do as well.
- If we dismiss or ignore someone’s perspective in the decision making process, simply because it is different from ours, we can have a high degree of confidence that we will not be getting their buy-in to whatever decision is made.
We can learn a lot about people and groups of people when we listen with genuine interest to understand their perspective and where it comes from. I think one of the highest honors we can pay someone is to listen to and seek to understand their perspective, even when we don’t agree with it at first.
The next time you are in a conversation where there are differing perspectives, don’t be too quick to dismiss the ones that don’t align with your own. Instead, use the difference as an opportunity to gain some understanding as to where the other person is coming from. Not only will you possibly gain some new understanding, you’ll most likely be making a connection with a fellow human being as well.