If you read leadership books, like any by Stephen Covey, no doubt you’ve heard of paradigm shifts. It’s one element that fundamentally makes you examine the basis of your assumptions. I had such an occurrence a week or so ago.
My day was a full one, filled with conference calls and traveling between client meetings. I had a new client, an executive in New York where it’s been difficult to coordinate schedules. Preoccupied by potential scheduling changes in my otherwise packed day, I became frustrated when one of my client phone meetings was a no-show. I immediately went to upset, thinking that my client was disrespecting my time and didn’t have the courtesy of letting me know in advance. I stewed in that state for a bit, then left a courteous voicemail. Fast forward to a couple of hours later when I got a call from this client’s assistant. She apologized, but said they were working without power and telephone connectivity due to Hurricane Sandy.
Yep, my thinking shifted. Only the night before I was watching the news and seeing the devastation that the East Coast had sustained. Then I was distracted by election coverage. That’s life, right?
How can you use the power of shifting perspectives in your work? When a co-worker doesn’t follow through on a critical assignment — what if you shifted your thinking, and put yourself in their shoes? How might that change the conversation? I suspect that a more productive, collaborative dialogue would result.
Have you had a similar experience? Where has your thinking abruptly changed when new facts came to light?