Perspective: Lessons from the Beach
I love the beach. But it’s not only the sun that draws me; it’s the way the terrain shifts with the tide or the weather. One day, the beach is wide and smooth, allowing an easy run along the water’s edge. The next day, the sand may give way to rocks, shells, seaweed, or other debris, making it more challenging to navigate. Each version of the same beach offers a different view of the way forward.
Exploring a familiar beach with a friend recently, we turned a corner and encountered a very rocky path. At first glance, it seemed impassable. Yet, we continued forward, scrambling over rocks and carefully picking our paths, making steady progress toward our destination. Interestingly, we each chose a different path, and as we walked, I realized I probably wouldn’t choose the same path for the return.
Why not? Perspective.
Looking out at the beach, we each saw a pattern or pathway through the rocks. Most of the time, it wasn’t the same one. And as we made our way through, the pattern changed, as did our choices. To some extent, we chose the path based on our individual capabilities; I’m taller and more agile than my friend, whose strengths are stability and perseverance. At other times, we simply couldn’t see the path that was so clear to the other. And when the path was really challenging, we asked for help and worked together to find the best route.
That experience reminded me of the value of perspective when solving problems or taking strategy forward. Even when the destination is clear and agreed (as it was for my friend and I), varied perspectives add value. They expand the options available to you, help to see patterns or paths you might have missed, and suggest alternatives. In turn, that perspective shapes the way you execute your strategy – the set of decisions and actions that get you to your destination.
Just as with a beach, change is a constant in business. The next time you’re looking for a path forward or through the change, invite someone new to the conversation. Get a different view – perspective.
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© 2019 Tara J Rethore. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.