I was sitting in the airport reading an article about the NBA playoffs pitting Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors, and over my shoulder, I heard someone say,
“The Cavs are doing what they need to do!”
I thought to myself, They sure are. They have definitely exceeded expectations. I kept eavesdropping as the man added,
“…and they’re growing”
Yep. I mused. They really have come together as team since adding a whole crop of new players this year.
“… and they’re feeding…” he continued.
I checked out the stat line, thinking, Lebron does feed his teammates. He shares the ball a lot, especially for someone who could shoot the ball every time down the floor.
“And we got ‘em vaccinated.”
Vaccinated?!?! I thought. Who says that about a basketball team?!
That’s when I realized that the man wasn’t talking about the Cavs basketball team, but rather, the calves on his farm. Like cows. And of course he was talking agriculture! I was sitting at gate C6 in the Des Moines International airport.
This happens more often than I’d like to admit. I approach a situation from a single-minded perspective, and later find out that I was completely wrong. It’s a problem that plagues organizations as well. We get stuck in our silos without acknowledging a broader perspective. If this sounds like your team, here are three simple tips to avoid misunderstandings and missed opportunities.
1. Invite Those On The Fringe– When implementing something new, there is a tendency to only involve key stakeholders. By soliciting input from those not intimately involved in your project, they have carte blanche to ask the “stupid question” that uncovers potential problems or opportunities your team would never consider.
2. Assign a Devil’s Advocate – Groupthink is a real problem, especially in organizations with a strong corporate culture. When discussing decisions, select a small team to uncover data and reasoning in opposition to the prevailing view, to challenge your thinking and encourage your team to identify way to mitigate risk.
Frame Problems from Both Sides – Research shows that problems framed only in terms of what is to be gained encourages organizations to take a conservative approach.Framing problems from the standpoint of fear and loss encourages more impulsive actions.Negate these inherent cognitive biases by framing problems and implementations in terms of what is to be gain, and what risks are involved.
At LifeWork Associates, we have nearly two decades of experience helping our clients quickly identify the root cause of problems and implement effective solutions. If your organization could use some new ways to look at old problems, give us a call. We'd love to help!