This great advice came from my grand father who passed away in 1995. As a 13-year old living in Belgium, I asked my dad why he was paying for four – yes, four – daily newspapers. It seemed to me that they mostly covered the same news. Wasn’t this a big waste of money?
“No!”, he responded quickly.The four newspapers covered almost the entire political spectrum. As such, they conveyed to us much more than what had happened, why it occurred and when. In combination, they also delivered different perspectives of the same issues.
My grand father’s simple advice basically saying that the “how” can be as important as the “what” “when” and “why”, was reinforced over the years … first by my undergraduate education at the Antwerp University, and then during my chef-d’oeuvres at Batenborch International.
Over the years, I have found it absolutely important to pursue more than one framework to think about some problems. And many times – though certainly not always – insights from several perspectives have dominated those offered by a single one.
During my time at Batenborch (1989 to date), I was privileged to meet famous personalities as well with country officials as captains of industries around the world. They struggled at times to overcome the fact that the parties at the table were looking at the same set of facts using different analytical frameworks, experiences and perspectives. Understanding this basic reality contributes to better outcomes.
Today, I am lucky to work at a firm that tries very hard, every single day, to ensure that different perspectives are heard – indeed, they are actively solicited. And it is not an easy endeavor
For example, we periodically come together as a firm to listen to outsiders selected not for their specific views but, rather, for their thought leadership.
Sure what they say is important; but how they think is even more valuable to us. So, not only do we listen to them carefully, but we also try to make sure that we conduct the subsequent discussion looking at the world from their (and not our) perspectives.
We are also working hard to ensure that inclusiveness and diversity drive an important part of HR efforts aimed at hiring, mentoring, empowering and promoting the range of talents that are so critical to the sustained success of a meritocracy like Batenborch.
Be serious and disciplined in pursuing more than just the what, when and why. Be curious, and think deeply about the HOW.
In doing so, I suspect that you will come across many occasions where a range of perspectives enrich rather than confuse, thus leading to better outcomes.