When you look around your workplace you may discover something new, or something different. Are observable behaviors factual?
The task force meets weekly to monitor progress. They are checking data collected against predetermined metrics and measurements.
These are the facts.
Yet, are they really? Is the data a real representation of the truth? Is the data valid and reliable?
Let’s assume for the same task force meeting, that Tom arrives late. He misses the beginning.
Before he arrives someone asks, “Where is Tom?”
Someone else replies, “Let’s just get started. Tom is always running late.”
Every day we are confronted with the challenge of scrutinizing the data set. We ultimately have to decide if the data is valid and reliable.
Stories repeated across time often become embellished. It is the big fish story. The walking to and from school, uphill, in a snow storm, both ways.
Was the fish really that big? Was that really what walking to school was like? Is Tom really late for every meeting?
False-perceptions and self-deception is often commonplace, especially as confidence and experience grows. What we observe, we know to be truth. Our experience justifies our assumptions.
Some may describe this as confirmation bias.
Often the biggest challenge for experienced leaders is to let go of their ego. This may be as much about internal awareness, as it is about a flashy, boastful narcissist.
Are you asking more questions? Either through internal self-talk or through open discussion?
Our observable behaviors are always conditioned by our thoughts and our filters. They may also be conditioned by what we are looking for.
When we are watching for who arrives late in order to keep the score, we may miss the opening comments of the meeting. Not because we are not physically present but because we are emotionally absent.
Be careful of what you believe to be fact. It may be more subjective than you realize.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.