Clarifying Perspectives

Day 136 Week 20 Q2 Wednesday, May 17, 2023

There is always more than one way to view any situation or project. Different perspectives can reveal different aspects of what is being seen or discussed. For example, we can describe a project with words, diagrams or numbers; although they purport to be equivalent, they are distinctly not.

A single drawing can effectively replace many words if you want to build a three-dimensional structure. You may need the words to indicate what parts need to be purchased, but in looking at the list, you will have a very different understanding of a project than in looking at an image. The same is true for a business that, although described in words, usually needs some numerical representation to understand what is happening. And as a composer, one can examine a score, but those little black dots on the page do not even get close to telling the entire story. Conversely, having a recording of a performance does not reveal the harmonic underpinning that a set of chord changes would.

We all are many ways to look at things, and some are incredibly more useful than others, depending on what the goal is. If the goal is clarification, then transforming one depiction into another or even more, the two can be very powerful in terms of understanding.

Suppose you can try to seek a clarifying perspective and remember if you are talking to an accountant, lawyer, engineer, homeowner, composer, musician, writer or artist, that they all speak different languages. These languages have evolved to clarify what they need to understand to do their job or accomplish goals “from their perspective,” which may not be your perspective.

The phrase “getting on the same page” refers to sharing a perspective. Imagine the size of the task to express a billion-dollar multinational firm through a website.  Who is this for, customers, employees, investors or all of them? Do you think this can be accomplished without the participation of senior management?

Do architects and building inspectors need drawings? Do lawyers need contracts? And who needs specs (specifications)? These are all different perspectives; some are clear, some are obfuscating, some are very accurate, and some are false. 

When you’re a creative outlier, you need to be conversant in many perspectives and skilled at perspective transformation if you want to understand or to be understood.

And of course, you do realize that specialists work for generalists, right? Having the ability to create clarifying perspectives can mean very different things to different people. Mathematicians are good at transformations, which is needed to explain complex situations clearly. 

When you are experiencing difficulty communicating or understanding, remember there is more than one way to express the same underlying information. Rendering flexibility is a communication superpower. Try to seek a clarifying perspective.