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Safe Meetings Foster Perspective

I have been very fortunate and am very grateful for a decision my grandfather Ted George made in 1953. He and two mates would enjoy their break from work by travelling to Dunsborough and beyond for some relaxing fishing adventures. As you could imagine it was very wild west conditions and the dairy farmer’s huts were basic jarrah shacks. Simple kitchen, dining table and chairs, dormitory of wire frame beds and a veranda.

The decision I am so grateful for was that Ted and his two mates offered to purchase the piece of beach front land from the farmer to help him out of financial difficulty. The farmer accepted. Five generations of Georges have enjoyed countless beach side vacations for the past 70 years.

In honour and memory of my family’s adventures, I commissioned a painting of the bay to capture the many scenes and people across the years.

However, artists see the world differently as I realised after a false start of artist selection. Here is where perspective comes into play and why safe meetings are the most productive.

These were my steps to get the best outcome:

  1. Consolidate as many photos of the property as possible.

  2. Ask the family for their memoires of the beach side holidays.

  3. List the memorable events down.

  4. Take the artist to the property as they feel and hear the many stories.

  5. Artist creates the magic.

The steps were followed, but I changed artists halfway through. The first artist stumbled at Step 5. They couldn’t convert my story. Their concept had the viewer standing on a sand dune, looking out towards the bay. Which made it very difficult to capture all the events. They asked to cancel the contract. It was safe space to do so.

Fortunately, I found another artist who encountered the same steps as before. This time a new set of eyes saw the story from a different perspective. They saw the viewer sitting in a boat looking towards the beach and moving along the bay at all the different people and activities.

The outcome was magnificent. The artist, @Steve Bowler captured the essence of the generational experiences and the painting has pride of place in our dining room.

The first answer, idea, opinion is not necessarily the best. People bring a different perspective drawing on their experiences and interpretations of the problem. One is looking at the problem from the sand dune, another sees it from a boat.

However. People only give their opinion when they feel safe. So many times, in meetings the safe space for open dialogue does not materialise due to “put down” comments or previously negated opinions.

Everyone has a perspective. As a leader of meetings, it is up to you to create the safe space so the many perspectives of a problem, issue or concern can be articulated. We need views from the sand dune and the boat.

You will be grateful for them.

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