May 28, 2009 Chris Fuller

When does perception = reality?

You say, “Tomato”. I Say “TomAHto”. You say, “we’re going to change…”. I think, “What do you mean change? I like it the way it is now. I’m used to doing it this way. If you change, it’s going to mean extra work. If you need to change, it means I’m not doing my job right. Or the company is in trouble. Either way I’m probably going to lose my job. This is a terrible time to be out of work. I Hate rebuilding my resume. I hate interviewing. What about the house? What about the bills? …..”

You get the point.

All of us bend information to our own level of understanding. I call this the “Sunglass” principle. Light comes into our “Eyes” but before it gets to the final stage of understanding – it gets interpreted or “bent” by our “lenses”. Without going into a full discussion or session on “Belief Windows”, these “Lenses” are formed from our past experiences, both in our business and our personal lives. The resulting effect on the team is that communication that is not intentional is left to everyone’s separate “Lens” and, at each interpretation, it gets bent. Their Perception = their reality.

Intentional “Iditarod Leadership” Communication takes into account the “Sunglasses” or lens of the recipient(s) before the message is ever launched out there. The message is, intentionally, crafted to each person AND each personality type.

Bending the information to each personality type, basically, means we need to consider:

· How much detail or factual based communication each recipient may need

· How some are going to perceive it affecting their image, social status, or income

· How others are going to feel before they think

· And how some just need us to cut to the bottom line.

Most, if not all, will, immediately, want to know how it affects them and their future. Like it or not, most of us are wired to think of self and self-preservation first.

If the message is to a large audience or is to be cascaded, we will need to build the intentional model to make sure the message isn’t bent at each level or with each department or divisional leader’s agenda.

Intentional Communication takes effort, but with the understanding that it will take more time to clarify, re-engage, re-purpose, re-direct, and get back on track – the effort on the front end is well worth the price of admission!

When communicating to the team, do you consider your teams personality and lenses?

If you are on the team, Do you consider your leader’s personality or lens?

On the trail, in life and business, perceptions and beliefs drive behaviors. To ensure we have the right actions or behaviors we must consider when perception is bending the message.

Have a great day!

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