Seeing the Full Picture

Four wonderful people are trying to move a huge system in a positive direction. In the process, they have encountered problems they did not expect. They asked to meet with me and a colleague.

We spent the entire time asking them questions designed to help them see their challenge from alternative perspectives. As we did, the feeling in the room changed. The shared sense of constraint and discouragement became a shared sense of vision and hope. They were suddenly free to move forward again.

A friend wrote to me of her experience in working with students in a high school. She tells a very simple yet brilliant story. It is an account of helping people see the full picture so they can make better choices:

When I was working with at-risk high school students, I heard on more than one occasion that graduating from high school was too hard and they were going to quit. I agreed that it was very hard to go to school and do everything necessary to graduate. I said that it was also very hard to drop out and “be stupid”. Dropping out severely limits job options, income, what kind of car they can afford to buy, where they can live, what type of person will be attracted to them, etc. Both paths are hard, so which “hard” would be their choice, and why?

Reflection

  • How does this school story have application everywhere?
  • Who in your organization needs to see the full picture?
  • How could you help someone today?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?
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