I have worn glasses since I was in my early twenties. My dad has worn glasses since he was a small child, and I will always remember him with his extra thick lenses, cased in black-rimmed frames.
A number of years ago, I accompanied my dad to see his eye surgeon as he needed new lenses. Only this time, the lenses would not be placed inside his big, black frames, but would actually placed in his eyes. I couldn’t be with him while the doctor was performing the surgery (not that I wanted to be as these things make me squeamish), and he came out a while later wearing an eyepatch.
Over the next few weeks, he continued to have both eyes operated on, and eventually threw his glasses away! He had brand new lenses, inserted right into his eyes. It was unbelievable. He was truly seeing the world better through his new lenses.
As I reflect on this memory, I challenge all of us to try to put on a different lens as we approach various situations, people, problems, or predicaments—at work and outside of work. Step aside for a moment, and intentionally look at a decision you are trying to make through the lens of another person.
How will your decision affect these people or situations? What things aren’t you seeing because you are seeing only what you want to see? How will your decision affect the other person or group emotionally? Will it back them into a corner? Will it force them to make decisions that you wouldn’t want to have to face? Will it create animosity within the team?
We all have our own decision-making processes, and I challenge each of us to genuinely try adding someone else’s lens to our own process. You know the saying “you make a better door than a window?” Insert that approach into your process by stepping away from the door and looking through the window—another person’s perspective.
And don’t choose the lens of someone who you know wants the same outcome as you, but choose someone who might have a differing opinion or perspective. For most of us, this won’t come naturally and will need to be done with intention. But give it a try!