The reality of perception

Three ways to unlock real change in customers

The reality of perception

When you draw a map of the world, where do you put the UK? How big do you draw it? Do you remember Japan?

It’s human nature to see the world from the inside-out, from where we stand and what we believe. This means we’re often closer to our colleagues than our customers, spend most of our time with ‘people like us’, and believe our ideas are slightly better than everyone else’s.

So to unlock real change in customers, in a company, and in yourself, you need to look from the outside in. And at Huddle 2015, we explored three ways to do that:

Be interested

Where does your information come from? Perhaps TV channels that show you things closer to home or that involve people that you can more easily identify with. Maybe celebrities and social media influencers who command a disproportionate share of your attention. Or it could be newspapers that already confirm your view of the world.

How often do you question your sources, and seek a balanced view?

Put yourselves in their shoes

Stop saying ‘treat people like I wanted to be treated’ - because they might not have the same view of the world as you. We’re surrounded by people who look like us, live like us, and work like us, and as Eli Pariser shows in his book, the likes of Google, Amazon, and Facebook only help to reinforce our ‘filter bubble’.

Pop it, by deliberately seeking out people unlike you, and views that disagree with your own.

Ask great questions

Dan Dennett once said that you should only assign yourself to a position when you can equally argue the opposite point of view. So next time you’re in a meeting, think about the perception of the person you’re talking to, and then a third position of someone observing you both from the outside.

Only use the words ‘I think’ when you’ve exhausted the questions ‘what do you think and why do you think it?’

The gravitational pull to see the world from the inside-out is relentless, and nearly impossible to resist. But knowing the biases you have, and finding ways to challenge your perceptions may just give you the boost you need to escape it’s force and see the world from a different point of view.

John Sills is Senior Consultant at The Foundation