Seeing the Elephant in the Room

In one of our recent seminars we conducted to help business professionals step into the new economy, I spent some time on the concept of awareness. Because we look at a situation through our own lens and bias, we inherently limit our perspective. It is part of being human. Our brains do not work in such a way which allows us to focus on more than one thing at a time.

Imagine looking at an elephant in a room. Two people are looking at the exact same object. One person describes the elephant as having a tail, a large round surface area and rough gray skin.

The second person comments on a snake-like muscle, large eyes and rough gray skin. Both people get together to compare notes and they find disparity in what is in the room. Each insists their view is the correct one. They are both looking at an elephant, but they are seeing it from two different perspectives – the front and the rear.

What is the elephant in the room when you are in a sales conversation, a relationship or a project meeting? Consider it a fact that because you are seeing it from one perspective, you are not seeing the many others. Your hard wiring prohibits you from seeing this. These are our blind spots. It is part of being human. The benefit of collaborating with others and seeking to understand rather than merely be understood is to gain the multiple perspectives to see what is in the room.

Admitting we have blind spots engages a part of us that is completely countercultural. It takes humility to align with the truth that we each have limitations and cannot see the room. Rather than persuading everyone of what we see, there are much greater gains and influence from getting a more complete picture.

One of the primary reasons we observe failure in our clients and in people in general is that they do not accept that they have a limited perspective. They operate in a handicap fashion by not understanding the other perspectives. These may be our friends, our customers, our boss, our co-workers. They each see the same thing we do – a relationship, a deal, a product – from a different vantage point.

What if you could see the other perspectives in the room? How would this impact your influence and effectiveness? Choose to broaden your perspective by first understanding your own and then others. A first step would be to admit that because you see one thing, you are not seeing many others. The second step would be to gain the knowledge to increase your awareness. You can do this through a Strengths Coaching module which helps you see the elephant. Your success and influence can grow if your vision for yourself is bigger than just being right.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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