Friday, February 5, 2016

One man, six photographers, astonishing results

Canon Australia set up an experiment to see whether photos of the same man would develop differently based on information provided about the man to the six different photographers.

Here’s how it turned out:
Very interesting, right? The obvious lesson is not to judge a book by its cover. But, let’s take it a little further. Let’s be more conscious of how information from others affects our perceptions. Think about how you act when someone else tells you their own perceptions of a colleague or customer.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when a friend’s fifth-grade daughter prepared to return to grade school after the Christmas break. Her teacher went on maternity leave, so she had a new teacher coming in at the break. The teacher was new to the class but had worked there for a few years. The little girl asked around to find out how other kids liked the teacher. Of course, some did not like the teacher.

The little girl became very upset and was not looking forward to returning to school after the break. It took my friend quite some time to calm her daughter so she could think clearly. Her mom warmly suggested she give the teacher a chance and make decisions based on her experiences. Mom’s magic motivation did the trick, and it worked out fine. 

Once in a while we all might need to take a step back, give people a chance, and decide whether they are valuable teammates, wise advisers, or good friends based on our own experiences. We might even need to do that more than once with the same person. Holding on to mistakes clouds judgment sometimes.  

We might need to do the same when someone else opines on an innovative idea. We see it all the time, don't we? When a new idea is brought up, the first words often uttered to do with why it won't work or how we tried that ten years ago. Let's be better about seeing things in a new way, rather than how everyone else sees it.  

The sad part about this whole experiment is that we miss out on the greatness of other people or ideas because of how we perceive them. The good news is that we can control that ourselves and not miss out any more.