The Importance of Changing Perspectives

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by Wanda Curlee

Not long ago, neuroscience was considered something akin to science fiction. In recent years, however, it has crawled out of that genre and into practical reality. By identifying ways people can reason, it’s even making major contributions to the project management profession.

Take the functional MRI (fMRI).

The fMRI creates an image of what a person’s brain is doing when they’re working. If you’re doing math, let’s say, the fMRI shows what areas of the brain are functioning.

Through these studies, neuroscientists have said that there are three ways a person can reason:

1. The detailed-oriented person. This is someone comfortable with schedule management, risk management, budget management, issues tracking, etc. Normally, this would be someone from the project management office (PMO) or a junior project manager.

2. The person who can see the forest for the trees. This is the seasoned project manager or a junior program manager. They are savvy with integration and can see the strategy that is needed for decision making.

3. The strategic-minded individual. Think senior program managers and portfolio managers. These individuals are focused on delivering the organization’s strategic objectives. They can see what the landscape needs to be into the future.

So how does this help you as a project leader? Studies show that if you provide the opportunity for a detailed-oriented person to work in the role of seeing the forest for the trees or putting a strategic person into a detail-oriented role, these individuals become more creative and innovative.

Think about it: By putting individuals in radically different positions—with some guidance and mentorship, of course—you are forcing that person to see problems from different perspectives.

When CEOs claim they do not have creative and innovative people in their organization, I would contend that the CEO is wrong. The CEO just doesn’t nurture the creativity and innovation.

Imagine a brainstorming session where you have individuals who have switched roles. These employees can take an idea presented at the brainstorm and now see it from different perspectives. You no longer have people trapped in thinking from only their own worlds.  

Are you as a project leader willing to push your team to experience the world from a different perspective? Are you willing to take a detail-oriented person and cajole him or her into seeing the forest for the trees? Will you mentor and guide the person? You will need to help with the anxiety of doing something totally foreign.

If you are willing, then you have created a more innovative and creative team!

 

Posted by Wanda Curlee on: May 17, 2018 03:53 PM | Permalink

Comments (26)

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Yes neuroscience like Emotional Intelligence were considered something of the science fiction ,nowadays we have to be aware of this in a daily basis.

Thank you

Interesting article !!!
Thanks a lot.

Good stuff!

Well said Wanda, we need the right person in the right role at the right time, and fMRI helps us to find the right person

Eduin - Thanks for reading the blog

Samuel - Thanks for your comment. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Alok - Thanks for reading the blog

Bruce - Thanks for looking at the blog.

Priya - fMRI is not ready to select the right person yet, but it is not too far into the future.

Very good! I totally agree with the value of perspectives from different roles.

Markus - Thanks for reading.

Drake - Thanks for the comment

Rami - Thanks for reading

Thanks Wanda, creativity and innovation is so important. It would be interesting to see these senior roles swapped around for a time to see how they add a new perspective, but it's rarely done.

Hello Sante - Thanks for your comment. Yes, it would be interesting. Unfortunately, senior management most likely would not take the risk.

Great story!

Thanks for sharing Wanda!! Unless one is willing to take that risk and put people in roles diametrically different from what they normally do, one would never know what the workforce can accomplish.

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