Last week I met with a CEO, Mike, who asked for help with one of his senior managers. The manager, Henry, was a new hire, had an impressive resume and by all accounts was performing well in his new role. When I sat down with Mike, he complained that Henry had ‘Pollyanna Syndrome.’ Mike said, “Henry is just excited about the company and doesn’t see all the problems around here. He just doesn’t get it!”
Perspective and Experience
This conversation hit close to home for me. As the holidays are upon us, I will admit I sometimes dread (gasp! Yes, I said it!) the hustle and bustle that accompanies the season – the overcrowded stores, the decorating, the holiday cards, the endless to-do lists, etc.
Yet, I think back to when my daughter was younger. I had the extraordinary opportunity to experience the holidays through her eyes. I watched her squeal with delight as we decorated our tree and our home. I’ve laughed with her as she’s sang Jingle Bells and Rudolph five thousand times. And of course, I was able to see her become awestruck by Santa. (Even if she wouldn’t sit in his lap for the picture!)
Seeing the wonder of the season through the eyes of a child shifted my perspective and enabled me to remember what I loved about the holidays.
Perspective dictates our experience and how we choose to see the world. Sometimes, we get so tired or jaded that we only see the negatives. When that happens, there is an opportunity to look for and remember the positives. By shifting our perspective, we can shift our experience.
The Power of Perspective
Back to our story – When I met with Henry, I realized Henry was well aware of the problems at the company. He was also excited about the opportunities and was choosing to focus on those. His perspective was that his team would move faster and be more successful by using that approach.
I arranged for a meeting with Mike, Henry and me. In that meeting, Henry shared his plan and perspective with Mike. Mike asked some questions, understood Henry’s approach and agreed it made sense.
After Henry left, Mike sat quietly at his desk. I asked Mike if he remembered why he started the company. He said he did. I then asked him if he remembered what it looked like in the early days. He smiled sheepishly and said, “I was just thinking about that. You know, it looked a lot like Henry.”