Friday, July 16, 2010

Big Picture versus Just You

There is much to be said for the person who looks at the greater good instead of a personal preference or even self-interest. There are times, however, when such conduct can mislead us, especially if the opinions expressed are based on what the person thinks others want and that turns out to be untrue.

For example, let's say you are surveying a group of people about which types of management training are needed. It can make a huge difference if the answers are based on what the individual needs versus what the individual thinks might be of interest to other members of the group. In the latter case, it is conceivable that the entire survey group could list "time management" as being a desirable topic when, in reality, not a single person would enroll if the class were offered. Why? Because they are basing their answers on an assumption about the group's need instead of their own.

The opposite, of course, is the person who views what the group wants through his or her own criteria and concludes that "If I don't like it, then it shouldn't be offered."

I mention this because conversations can be quickly derailed if these slants are not identified and taken into account. It is important to know if the person is giving an unvarnished personal reaction or one that has been treated with other considerations. Either way, it can turn Yes into No or No into Yes.

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