Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.51 Perceptual Positioning

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(windows of the world)


This technique allows you to become more effective in interpersonal relationships by changing perceptions, ie the way you look at situations. It demonstrates how to direct perceptions, or attention energy, in 3 different ways. This gives a perspective from 3 very different angles on each interpersonal situation. The 3 positions are called first, second and third (see diagram below)

First Position

This position is looking at situations through your own eyes; experiencing your own thoughts and emotions that determine how you react. This position is ideal for relating to somebody who is close to you. On other hand, it is not a good position for being interpersonally powerful in meetings, selling, persuasion, conflict resolution and other similar encounters in both your personal and professional life

Second position

This position involves looking at situations through the eyes of another person. You are putting yourself in the "shoes of another person". This requires 2 skills: firstly, putting to one side your own thoughts and emotions; and, secondly using sensory acuity to carefully watch and calibrate the observable behaviour of another person. These 2 skills allow you to make inferences about the other person from your observations. Initially the skills are difficult and need to be learned. Once you become experienced with this position, ie understanding another's point of view, persuasion, conflict resolution, and other opportunities arise which allow you to adapt your behaviour to powerfully match theirs. Developing this position will improve your interpersonal capabilities significantly

Third position

This position involves taking a wider perspective, ie looking at the whole group and making inferences about the state of the group dynamics from your observations. Peripheral vision is a technique used in this position. From this you can infer whether the group is together on an issue or apart, bored or motivated, etc. This is useful in meetings and conferences where you are a speaker or any other group situation where influencing the group dynamics is important to you. Sometimes in describing what you see, it is illuminating to use a metaphor or analogy.

organisational development change management

You can control where you allocate your attention energy. By adopting the different positions, you can get a better understanding of any given situation. Ideally, use a trusted learning partner who can give you the necessary feedback so that you can develop the necessary skills to handle all 3 positions

(sources: Phil Boas, 1999; Lawry Scandar, 2003)

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