The importance of viewpoint has arisen frequently in the last few weeks.  This past weekend, I spent the weekend in an APICS (leading trade association for supply chain and operations professionals) train-the-trainer class. Certainly, your viewpoint as a trainer is quite different than as an audience member which was also quite different from the master instructor of the trainers.  Also, around a week ago, I was in New York in a professional development session, and the importance of different viewpoints arose during the seminar as well as with the surroundings….    

The view from the seminar was within 24 hours of the view from our restaurant in Chinatown – notice a bit of a difference not only in the obvious weather difference but also in the frame of reference? Are you paying attention to your frame of reference (view) into your work issues? 

One tip to implement this week: 

I’ve heard many employees at my clients complain about colleagues – and a few sing their praises. More often than not, when I talk with and/or observe the work of the object of the conversation, I find that it is completely related to the frame of reference. Are they talking with angry customers?  Are they dealing with a manager with a different priority?  Did they have a fender bender on their way to work?  Are they looking at it from a strategy point-of-view (like the skyscraper picture) or from the trenches (Chinatown).  What is their frame of reference? 

Being aware of your frame of reference is a great place to start. Once you keep your own frame of reference in mind, start thinking about your colleague’s frame of reference.  It could put you into an entirely different conversation.  In the train-the-trainer class, we filled out a survey on how we would help people by giving directions to a restaurant, how we would communicate a new recipe etc. The idea was that we’d better understand our style.  In my case – and another participant who works with clients on a daily basis – our conclusion came out the opposite of what we’d prefer because the questions asked what we would do for the person requesting directions.  We put ourselves in their frame of reference (and so didn’t get the intended results from the exercise).  


Lisa Anderson

March 19, 2018