If you think about it, seeking out perspective is typically a huge part of one’s life.
It often begins in childhood. We may come home from school completely upset about how wronged we were by Billy on the playground. In recounting the grievance to our parents, they may ask us: “Is there a better way you could have handled the situation?” Or, “Put yourself in Billy’s shoes; can you see why he is upset, too?” Though we didn’t ask for the perspective necessarily, we are invited to explore the power of perspective and of seeing things from a different point of view.
As teenagers, we start craving perspective from our friends. We will ask questions like, “Do you like my outfit?”, “Should we take AP English or AP Calc?”, “Where should we apply to college?”, “What should we do tonight?”, and so on. We become accustomed to bouncing ideas off of others and using that feedback to inform our decisions.
As adults, the trend continues. We seek out mentors and sponsors who can provide sage career advice. We call a close friend after a fight with a spouse to ask if we are actually in the wrong. We receive parenting advice from our friends. We talk about career ideas—starting our own businesses, changing industries, going for a promotion—with trusted colleagues.
You May Also Like: Knowing When it’s Time to Throw Out the Business School Rules
There are a lot of hypotheses out there as to why we crave human connection, interaction and perspective like this throughout our lives. My favorite is described as the “belongingness hypothesis,” which explains that we have an innate need to belong and desire interpersonal attachments as a fundamental motivation. This desire manifests in us forming social bonds without being paid or forced; experiencing the cognitive “merging” effect where our thoughts become intertwined with those to whom we are closest; and shifting our perspectives through these bonds, among other things according to research.
In many ways, it seems our DNA is hard-wired to crave perspective which is a huge asset to us as leaders!
Because we are innately fueled to have relationships and seek out advice, we are equipped with a huge strategic asset that can greatly shape us as business leaders if we commit to leveraging this asset. Just think of the ways we could accelerate our ability to have a positive impact on ourselves and the companies and communities we serve if we satiated this craving to get advice more regularly.
Related Reading: What We Are Hearing: Community is King
Forward-facing leaders spend a great deal of time conceptualizing, debating and exploring ideas with others. Before jumping in to the next great idea, these types of leaders are more inclined to slow down and really talk the idea through with a sounding board. These leaders fiercely believe ideas can always be stronger. They celebrate the power of collaboration and co-creation.
Leaders that believe in perspective and ideation are the kinds of people who, among other things:
- Validate an app’s viability to penetrate a market before jumping straight to development
- Walk their customers through an idea for a new product or service enhancement prior to going live sans feedback
- Talk to “someone who has been there” about their ideas for scaling their company from $5 million to $10 million and incorporating their proven techniques
- Grab a cup of coffee with their friend who is in the same role at another company to trade tips on strategies they can employ within their department
This fresh perspective can be just the thing you need to take your next idea from good to great. Sometimes one piece of advice from your sounding board (“adjust your price,” “try this marketing tactic,” “consider leveraging this technology”) can be the one sentence that inches you considerably closer to transformation. Many times, that one conversation can get your wheels turning in a completely different—and better—direction.
Let’s all go spend a bit more time with our sounding boards!
Where are you going to start?
At Trilix, we have recently expanded our Consulting & Advisory Services offering due to client interest in having a sounding board. Our team of business strategists and changemakers work alongside you to provide you with the strategic counsel—and fresh perspective—you crave as you look to build a winning strategy. To learn more about our recently expanded offering, and to schedule a meeting with your sounding board, click here!