Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do You See What I See?

Look closely at the picture above. Do you see what I do?

My husband and I recently took a vacation with friends to Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah. On our first day in the park, we opted for the shuttle tour led by a jovial man named Spike.

Spike was well versed about the history of the canyon, including how weather events help shape the Clarion formations into beautiful fins, windows, spires and slot canyons. Along the way Spike would point to a hoodoo and ask if we could guess what animal or person could be found in the rock formation. Each of us had our own idea of what was found within the formation. Spike would then tell us the name the park rangers had given the formations. On more than one occasion, Spike really had to work to get tourists to "see" the object found within the rock. A few formations were a real stretch of the imagination. Do you see the hunter (Elmer Fudd) in the picture above?

One person's perception may not be another's reality. Just as with the hoodoo formations, one person may see something that another cannot. Leaders who believe that their own perception is the one and only risk creating a warped sense of reality. They may never "hear" what their subordinates are telling them.

The impetus of this entry came from an article on Leading Blog titled "Who's the King?" The author provides a parable about a lion and his quest to determine who is the king of the jungle. Read for yourself how some of us "reshape feedback until it supports what we want it to mean."

What do you see in this picture?

How about a poodle?

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