Birds and problem solving... a perspective.

Alejandro Jodorowsky said, "Birds born in cages think flying is an illness"; an imaginative reminder that our circumstances will influence how we view the world, how we think, and ultimately how we act. This is a truism if ever there was one - Based on our perspective, we will look at things differently than others. 

As a positive, this leads to different points of view, fresh thinking and a better understanding of situations; conversely though, a point of view between some people can be so different (and even though they are articulate and eloquent), they truly can't understand each other. She said "white" and he heard "black" is a tongue-in-cheek example, but does sum it up nicely.

If you have ever been through a profiling exercise, be it DISC, Myers-Briggs or any of the colour based profiling, you know that not only do you better understand yourself, but also develop an understanding of the differences in people; you appreciate why we look at the world differently and how to find common ground for effective communication and understanding - As the old adage goes, "If you want to understand someone, walk a mile in their shoes".

So what does this mean for creative problem solving? With consideration to the premise that the better you understand a situation, the better your solution will be; you want a wide range of perspectives to get a better result. But in this, lies a rub...

If perspectives are so different, it may be very difficult (if not impossible) to understand each other, which not only negates the value of looking at a situation differently, but leads to frustration, misunderstanding and conflict. The trick is to get various perspectives that are different enough to better understand the situation, while developing the skills and an environment to find a common ground to understand those different perspectives - The better you are this, the wider array of perspectives you can engage... and that's just good for problem solving.

  • Encourage profile exercises for you and your team to better understand individual "make-up" and dynamics - In turn learn how you best work and communicate with each other.  
  • Struggling to understand each other? Solicit others and their point of view... it will encourage clarity of understanding for everyone.
  • Put yourself in the other person's shoes to better understand how and why they see what they see.
  • Remember patience. Sometimes it takes time to understand someone else's point of view.
  • In most cases, a different perspective is not wrong... just different.

When understanding a situation or problem, the goal is not to assess "right or wrong" regarding perspectives, but rather understand all perspectives and ensure you have developed the clearest picture... and from there, the best solution to your problem.

I hope my perspective makes sense.