You don’t have to go quantum to realize that one issue may have numerous interpretations. Just look at the classic example of a glass half-filled with water – would you call it half-full, or rather half-empty?

Since one thing may be looked on in a number of ways, it is extremely important to make sure that people from different parts of organizations understand each other and are aware of the differences among themselves.


Check out some useful tips on how to minimize the so-called perceptual distortion: Where You Sit Determines What You See



  • bias – prejudice
  • distortion – when something is pulled or twisted out of shape
  • perceive – interpret or look on something in a particular way, regard as
  • spin – a particular bias, point of view or interpretation of something
  • streamline – improve, enhance
  • comply – act in accordance with
  • alignment – (here) agreement, alliance


Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • What assumption can make you feel frustrated and disappointed?
  • How did one diversified technology company attempt to develop cross-organizational alignment?
  • What was the effect of the attempt?
  • What example of the Stockholm effect does the author provide?
  • What does the author suggest as one of the best solutions to the problem of perceptual distortion? 


Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • Understanding this kind of perceptual distortion is of the utmost importance to getting things done in organizations.
  • If you take it for granted that these people perceive the assignment or challenge just like you do, you’ll be severely frustrated or disappointed.
  • Considering these different perceptions of “the problem” the team easily could have fallen victim to unproductive blaming or hardened their positions.
  • Based on these insights, the team initiated a considerable improvement in the sales numbers over the next six months.
  • One of the best ways to win over continuing perceptual distortion is to rotate between functions, levels, and locations.

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct form of the words in capital letters. 

Understanding this kind of perceptual ___ DISTORT is crucial for getting things done in organizations. Most projects or processes require ___ COLLABORATE work with people who come from other parts of the organization — different functions, levels, locations, or business units — and who see the world ___ DIFFER. If you assume that these people ___ PERCEPTION the assignment or challenge in the same way that you do, you’ll be severely frustrated or disappointed. In fact, you’ll be on much firmer ground if you start with the ___ ASSUME that each person comes to the table with a different spin on the situation.


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