A Shift In Thinking

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.

Hard Green ShellMy 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?