A lifetime of perceptions
Every single experience we have ever had, our family, our schooling, friends, associates, environments are influencing and conditioning our perception. This influences our world view which becomes a set of biases and the source of our behaviours, beliefs and attitude; ultimately affecting our relationships with others.
The Perception Ladder
In his book ‘Overcoming Organisational Defences’ Chris Argyris explained this concept in a great, easy to understand way. He uses the concept of the ‘Perception Ladder’, an internal ladder we climb up. Chris Argyris explains that our perceptions are based on the self-generated beliefs that are often kept and remain untested. These beliefs are based on conclusions we have drawn. Our conclusions have been gained from our observations and past experiences. Stepping up the ladder creates our perceptions and will result in the action we take. More often than not backing up what we perceived would happen because we haven’t made any significant change.
We go up the ladder within our mind, in reality we observe data and have experiences. From this data and experience we become selective and make value judgements, these are based on our past experiences. Once we have done this, we then identify patterns and add meaning to them. We then start to draw conclusions having an impact on both our emotions and our physiology. When all of this has been done, and it happen really fast, we have created our map, the world view that is unique to our self. We call this going up the ladder, it is useful to note that because we have all had different experiences then we all have different ladders.
We see what we want to see
In reality, we see what we want to see. We get what we expect to get. In order to change the outcome, we need to change our perception of the situation. This is applicable in any given situation.
When managing a team member how often are you doing this through your own world view, or adapting to their world view?
When communicating with others how often do you hear what you want to hear and not what they have said?
Take some time to sit back and think about the perception ladder and how you can use it to better communicate with the people around you.