With 15 years’ experience in the field of measuring perception, Tanya Lacy shares common sense insight and cross cultural communication strategies on this fascinating topic.
For a moment, think about miscommunication beyond the differences of age, gender, culture or generation. Now consider the possibility that this problem is simply a result of a different perception level between you and others. Perception plays a role in the quality of ‘the connect’ or ‘disconnect’ between us.
Now let’s think about Perception level and the part it plays in the connectivity within the communication between people.
Perception level connects communication. Or put another way, while communication connects people – perception level connects the quality of the communication.
Where there is disconnect there is loss
In any organisational context whether for profit, not for profit, franchisee/licensee to franchisor/ licsensor where there is disconnect there is loss. This can be a loss in
Loyalty; Trust, Time, Opportunity, and in some cases; Profit.
Over the years we have seen how a lack of connectivity is a large source of frustration between people in teams or communities. In the main, we blame communication, however the specific element within the connectivity of communication is indeed perception.
Let me explain.
Levels of Perception
Usually what happens is that highly perceptive people are frustrated by what others don’t see or do. Highly perceptive people ’see things’ or ‘pick up on things’ others don’t.
Conversely people with of lower perception level are also often frustrated because they can’t see what all the ‘big picture -visionary’ fuss is about. Their approach is more focussed on getting on with the facts and detail at hand.
Are you on the Same Page?
Meeting of perception levels is an important element of communication for an effective and functioning team.
“Achieving the goal of ‘being on the same page’ is a key point of difference for a group that works well together”
To achieve this the individuals within the group itself must:
a. understand their own levels of perception and
b. understand the variety of perception levels within the group.
When different levels of perception ‘miss eachother’ there is a gap or disconnect. This gap or disconnect is often the reason for a team being misaligned or as we refer to it at Intercept- not being on the ‘Same Page’.
It is valuable to measure perception. A piece of work highly valued by our clients is to show the individuals in metrics how to be better connected through understanding;
a. their own perception levels (or measure), and
b. the variety of perception levels (or measures) of the members within the group
This enables them to reach the goal of being on the same page.
To illustrate perception we can talk about 0 and 100. Zero is low perception and 100 is high. If you can imagine a lighthouse on the land with some rocks underneath. Take the rocks as the 0. Mid way to the horizon as 50. The horizon line, 100.
Imagine that lighthouse has a beam of light that extends from the lighthouse itself out to the horizon.
So when we talk about Perception level we start to talk and think about this as the ‘lighthouse effect’.
When considering your team or group, it is useful to discuss where people sit in the context of the beam of light to the horizon. Are they horizon thinkers or are they land thinkers?
Are people right out there at 100? Looking at the horizon being strategic, big picture, global thinkers? or are they at say 30, more land locked with a local detail orientation?
We have found that leaders live at between 60 and 100. We have also found they require team members who are between 0 and 50 to support them in the execution of their ideas.
What charismatic people seem to ‘get’
“Charismatic people are those who can activate or deactivate their perception levels at different times.”
Understanding this can really help you in your knowledge of self and knowledge of how to better read and interact with others.
It is important to ‘get’ that depending on what’s going on for you at any given moment, perception level can expand and contract.
To illustrate, while looking into opportunities to merge groups, (teams, families or communities) a leader might be ‘expanding their horizon’ so to speak. Once the merger takes place, it’s time to consolidate and become more ‘land locked’.
So this is also an interesting piece of know-how when dealing with teams. When you understand that your perceptiveness can move, it helps you understand that you can bring it in or extend it to meet others where they’re at. This strengthens connection and so in a globalised, cross cultural environment, mastering the power of perception provides you with an edge economically and socially.
Try the lighthouse experiment
Next time you are working with other people and you have a disconnect in your communication, give this a try.
Grab a piece of paper and draw a lighthouse. Draw it so a beam of light is leading out from the land to the horizon. I’d like you to think about where you are sitting in the conversation. Are you out on the horizon looking back at land? Or are you at the land looking back at the horizon? Next, plot where you think the other person (or people) you are speaking with are. It is a very interesting experiment. Once you can plot where you think others are placed, you can then better understand the disconnection points.
From there all you have to do is work out how to bridge the gap and bring them along to your thinking so you are on the same part of the journey or on the same page.
Keep us posted on how the lighthouse experiment works out for you. Feel free to email or twitter.
Tanya Lacy is the founder of Intercept Experience a replicable business model in post GFC leadership and enterprise solutions. She is cofounder of Intercept Poverty, service & social innovations for underdeveloped communities.
She and her team teach, speak, write and share the Intercept Experience. Tanya’s innovation is leading business people into the world of social entrepreneurship and social impact micro-franchising models.
Fore more: Intercept HQ is in Melbourne Australia. +61(03)9397 4697
Representatives in Denver, Dubai, UK, Malta. www.interceptexperience.com;