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The Primes: How any Group can Solve any Problem by CHRIS McGOFF

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Chapter 4

Gaining Shared Perspective

Everyone claims to value diversity. Can maintaining diverse perspectives ever be a bad thing?

Think of the term “perspective” as “the place from which one observes.” If people are looking at a situation from different perspectives, they almost never agree on the presenting problem, root cause, consequences, or solution. People's perspectives set up their perception, and their perception dictates their reality. Then we fight over whose “reality” is right. This goes nowhere.

The three PRIMES revealed in this chapter break “perspective” into three dimensions: the angle, the level of abstraction, and the life cycle. Left to their own devices, individuals in groups tend to position themselves at different angles and levels of abstraction when they view a problem. They also start out with different beliefs regarding how close to the edge they are and how fast they are approaching it. Each person has a different sense of urgency.

The trick is to gather the individuals into a group so that they can look at and discuss the problem from various angles and levels together. Shared perspective enriches and sharpens the conversation, and is the first step in generating and accessing the group's full power.

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

Miles' Law; Rufus E. Miles1

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