Answers require asking the right questions. Finding an answer to a problem requires defining the problem. What we think is the answer to the problem can be just our perception and interpretation of reality. (If this idiot could just get it). What really happens may be a totally other story. Any situation we face we see though our own filters and then put the bits and pieces together in our own minds.
Example: Lack of Team-Work, lack of Cooperation, lack of Leadership in Company X. Division A does not communicate much with division B. Everybody does their job well, and yet, there is not much interaction. Each division knows their job better than the other division’s job. The problem is: Company X cannot keep up with their competition. And each division has another idea about the problem. Two individual parts that don’t interrelate. 1+1=1.5. A kind of culture based on assumptions and blame.
What is the problem, really? And how can we resolve it?
A great percentage of a problem originates from prejudice and beliefs. We see what we want to see. The ladder of inference.
The Ladder of Inference describes the thinking process that we go through, usually without realizing it, to get from a fact to a decision or action. The thinking stages can be seen as rungs on a ladder and are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: The Ladder of Inference
From Argyris, C., ‘Overcoming Organizational Defenses: Facilitating Organizational Learning,’ 1st Edition, © 1990. Printed electronically and reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. and Sons, Inc.
Starting at the bottom of the ladder, we have reality and facts. From there, we:
- Experience these selectively based on our beliefs and prior experience. We select only the data that fits to our belief system.
- Then, we interpret what they mean.
- Then, we apply our existing assumptions, sometimes just assuming.
- We draw conclusions based on the interpreted facts and our assumptions.
- We develop beliefs based on these conclusions.
- We take actions that seem “right” because they are based on what we believe.
This can create a vicious circle. Our beliefs determine to a great extend what pieces of data we select from reality. This can lead us to ignore the true facts altogether!!! Soon we are literally jumping to conclusions. Everybody has some experience with that instant-assumption-process. By missing facts and skipping steps in the reasoning process. Using the Ladder of Inference, helps you get back to the facts and use your beliefs and experiences to positive effect, rather than allowing them to narrow your field of judgment. Following this step-by-step reasoning can lead you to better results, based on reality, so avoiding unnecessary mistakes and conflict. Learning to ask the right questions.
Imagine you can really put aside your personal differences, ideas about the other person and your perception of the problem. Open up, listen and see what there really is. What real facts there are, not what you have made up. It is about having courage to show your face, ask questions, put the situation in another light, where you can really see the things for what they are. Things that you have always missed due to a narrow perception, the ladder of inference.
What would it take for “this idiot to just get it”?
Honesty and a willingness to get naked.Company X being able to clearly communicate their true intentions, goals and ambitions. The big what and why questions. Plus, facilitate a safe environment where division A and division B is encouraged to communicate openly. Where errors can be fearlessly evaluated and used as a source of improvement.
It´s about trust. It´s about daring to share.
Magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone with other people to achieve bold ambitions.
Advance Communication – Improve Relationships
Leave a Reply