Report Support Article Written by Amy Shepley
Typically, Birkman conversations center around our big differentiator, Needs. Birkman is unique due to its ability to acknowledge and measure both external Usual Behavior and underlying Needs (or social expectations). But what drives the factors that make up our deeply rooted perceptions?
We can argue that mindset is the foundation of our perceptual architecture driven by the interactions between our Usual Behavior and Needs. From this point of view, unmet Needs are not the root cause of Stress Behavior. Instead, the confrontation of reality against this entire mindset, our unique beliefs of how the world should be and how we fit into it, produces stress. Exploring mindset allows us to go even deeper into our individual behaviors and explore the complex interplay of our perception of the world and our role within it.
Our mindset doesn't create problems when we are alone. We view the world through our unique perceptual filter and assume our thoughts are correct and more-or-less shared by others. However, the addition of one or more people introduces complexity because now our mindset is being confronted by the differing ideas and views of another. Since a life of isolation is not a likely or alluring prospect, we must learn to navigate, manage, and most importantly, leverage, varying mindsets.
It's important to accept that conflict is inevitable in a group setting. No matter how similar individuals may be, concrete and insistent mindsets are still challenged, causing unavoidable friction. Individuals must learn to question their mindsets and make room for new views to avoid conflict from turning into team dysfunction or negative interactions.
You may remember two internet phenomena involving perception that seemed to polarize the internet into two camps. Most recently, an audio clip of a recorded voice saying either "yanny" or "laural," depending on perception, crazed the internet. Coworkers, friends, and spouses argued to convince each other that their perception of this recording was reality. Three years prior, a similar situation had everyone questioning whether a viral photo of a dress was black and blue or gold and white. In both of these occurrences, people were appalled at the other side's ability to argue with "reality."
When others challenge our mindset, we begin to question what we consider fact and reality. These examples truly exemplify the stress felt by a challenged mentality, no matter how trivial.
In the world of business, stakes are higher. Instead of having your opinion on the line, you have budgets, culture, and employees' futures to consider. A successful company, team, and leader must understand the landscape of their own mindset while staying open to those who see the world differently. With self-awareness and open-mindedness held as the highest value, leaders can leverage the strengths of differing mindsets to produce the best solutions.
If this topic interests you, sign up for my presentation at SXSW 2019 called "Perception Prison and How to Break Out."