Perspective and context and two things that are not taken into account in business as much as I think is necessary. They are two key things that, when left out, drastically alter the understanding of something. Whether it be a proposal for a client, hiring a new employee or rolling out a new process, perspective and context will have a large impact on how successful a new initiative will be.
Let’s start with context. Context and experience is all someone has to lean on when dealing with a new situation. For example, I’ve worked at startups where the pace was extremely quick with new things rolled out and changed almost weekly. For me, this was normal and seemingly how all business run because it was the only context I had. I had never seen how a large company rolls out new things so from my perspective, all companies changed extremely rapidly. Some of my colleagues, who joined the startup from larger, more established companies couldn’t believe how fast we were moving. They couldn’t keep up with all the changes and were frustrated when they happened, because their context was completely different than mine. They had never worked at a startup before, therefore from their perspective, the company was moving way too fast and was rushing into decisions.
Perspective is also an often overlooked topic in business. When a company rolls out a big new initiative to a team, from the team’s perspective, it almost always looks like a rushed decision and a negative change. From the executive’s perspective, who had many meetings about the topic in the background, the new initiative shouldn’t be a huge surprise and the team should begin hitting the expectations immediately. The executive has been thinking of this new process for months and planning how to roll it out, but because the team wasn’t involved in the decision making process, it is entirely new to them. In a fast moving company, the executive thinks things should work immediately because they’ve had month(s) to prepare but to the team they are just beginning to wrap their heads around this new idea.
When taken into account, perspective and context can enlighten a lot of decisions in business. The reasons why many initiatives “fail” looks very obvious after one looks at the context and perspective of the one fulfilling the initiative. Had I gotten the team’s suggestions while I built out the process, they might’ve received the roll-out better and the change might not have seemed so drastic. Had I looked at the context of this person’s past career, I might not have given him/her this vague, big project their first month on the job. It sounds simple and obvious but many times decisions are made in a vacuum and if the decision maker simply took the time to think about the effect from the worker’s perspective or take into account the context from which they would view it, many initiatives would be more successful.