As a kid, I used to lay on the couch and imagine what it would be like if the house were flipped upside down, that the ceiling was the floor, and the floor the ceiling. Getting from room to room would be more challenging that’s for sure; you would have to step over the upper part of the doorways. I started to notice things about the house that I hadn’t seen before or at least hadn’t given much consideration. It was literally a great way to change my perspective.
Much later, in college, I had a design professor who made her graduate students put on glasses to blur their vision, wear gloves, and ride around in wheelchairs while determining the accessibility of a newly constructed building. Why that way instead of just walking around with a checklist? No better way to access the building then by immersing yourself in the experience of someone who might be sight impaired, usable to walk and/or lack hand dexterity. You move from observation to actually doing it, again, changing your perspective from being a person on the lookout for items that might impede someone’s progress around the building to finding things that impede your ability to get around.
In much the same way, as professionals and leaders, we should all continually strive to change our perspective. We all know the value of seeing things from someone else’s perspective. This is a basic element to resolving conflicts and arguments. If we take it a step further, and embracing new ways of thinking, that will help us to not only to better solve problems, but also be better prepared when challenges arise. We will have more ways of dealing with the challenge and not be overwhelmed by it.
For me, one of the best things about being able to consider different perspectives is that you realize that what is right for one person in one situation, is not necessarily applicable to another time & place. One size fits all is rarely the answer. In my studies of Human Factors I learned that when things are designed to fit the “average human”, it typically only works for 2% of the population.