The data is becoming overwhelming: leadership effectiveness is largely driven by exercising the capacity to shift perspectives, to actively step into other frames of reference. Over the past twenty years, thousands of executives have been through the foundational leadership development seminars I have designed and facilitated. Research conducted over that time demonstrates that those participants who develop the capacity to shift perspectives are the ones who do the most with the powerful concepts, strategies and skills highlighted in the process. This is consistent with other research that indicates that those people who have the greatest mental flexibility tend to be both more innovative and effective when dealing with discontinuities and change.
The world we live in is one of constant and increasing flux. The vast waves of change challenge us individually and collectively, both in our personal and professional lives. Learning to not only work through but to thrive during chaotic changes is an important mind-set and orientation as well as a brace of skills. Cultivating a Rich Internal Dialogue (RID) is one of the most powerful ways of developing both mental flexibility as well as the capacity to shift perspectives. Rich internal dialogue refers to being able to consider multiple viewpoints and to play with or dialogue between perspectives, enriching understanding, expanding options and stretching your imagination.
For example, how many different ways of looking at an issue or situation can you access and consider? Developing the ability to step back from the “normal” frame of reference and consider several other perspectives and to entertain them stimulates creativity and minimizes the chances of suffering from a failure of imagination, from going down the same old logic tunnel again and again. The simplest way to express this is the maxim, “What someone considers a problem, another person will see as a business opportunity.” When you can step back from the prevailing paradigm and pre-set ways of thinking and entertain several other possible explanations or ways of seeing things, you are more effective in coming up with solutions and approaches.
What are you doing to activate the different perspectives and viewpoints in your mind and heart, to enrich your way of looking at and understanding people, issues, challenges and relationships?