One track mind

Posted by Jeff Schnurr on May 29, 2011 · 1 min read

I think most of us are vulnerable to viewing the world through a particular lens. When out for dinner, a firefighter scans the restaurant for the exits, a chef critiques the preparation and presentation of the meal, and the doctor reflects on the health of the server. Our world view and profile of interest in any topic or situation is defined by that lens.

Professionally, how is this impacting your work every day? Have you become so one dimensional and predictable that your question or contribution to every conversation can be predicted in advance? Are you the “cost guy”, the “scalability guy” or the lady obsessed with vendor contract terms?

To be at your best, challenge yourself to change the lens. Ignore your role, level, specialty, department – and look at the topic objectively. Surprise your colleagues by asking insightful and important questions from a perspective you don’t normally represent. Ask yourself how someone with a different lens would look at this. Even better, ask how a customer would look at it. In so doing, you’ll demonstrate that your primary interest is in the overall betterment of the business, and not in bolstering the perceived value of your own little world.

The people that really make a difference excel at this. Their lens is a tool, but it doesn’t constrain their thinking. Try a different lens – you might be surprised.