The Importance of Perceptual Positions

Understanding the different perspectives from which to view a situation – and how to use them – is an extremely powerful way to gain insights and understanding. Here, we explain what these Perceptual Positions are and how to use them.

Perceptual Positions are different perspectives from which to view something.

Understanding what these positions are and how to use them can be an extremely powerful way to gain insights and understanding that may not be available from your starting or standard viewpoint.

Typically applied to interpersonal situations, Value Management applies Perceptual Positions to inter-organisational ones, too.

The Different Perceptual Positions

There are generally considered to be three main Perceptual Positions, at least at an interpersonal level:

  1. First: your own experience and perceptions of a situation.
  2. Second: empathetically considering another’s perspective in that situation.
  3. Third: a detached, “objective” view of the situation.

For our purposes, though, we apply these Perceptual Positions to business and, in particular, to business Ecosystems.

This modifies things as follows, and adds a fourth Perceptual Position:

  1. First: Internal Organisation

    Definition: An organisation’s own perspective, rooted in its collective experiences and insights.
    Key Characteristics: Encompasses shared goals, challenges, and experiences within the organisation.
  2. Second: Other Organisation

    Definition: Embracing the viewpoint of another distinct organisation or stakeholder within the Ecosystem.
    Key Characteristics: Empathy and understanding through stepping into another organisation’s position, seeing things exclusively from their perspective, and truly identifying with their experiences.
  3. Third Position: Objective Observership

    Definition: A neutral standpoint, observing and analysing interactions between one or more organisations within the Ecosystem.
    Key Characteristics: A depersonalised lens through which to evaluate and understand the internal dynamics of the Ecosystem – in part or whole – without inherent biases.
  4. Fourth Position: Ecosystemic

    Definition: A holistic vantage point that synthesises Perceptual Positions, offering a broad understanding of the interplay within the entire Ecosystem, and of its overall direction and priorities.
    Key Characteristics: Overarches individual entity organisations and their experiences, focusing on the interplay, impacts, and patterns within the complete Ecosystem.

The Power of Perceptual Positions

In very general terms, consciously considering the Perceptual Positions serves as a constant reminder that both internal and external Things That Matter are always subjectively perceived.

Differences in opinion and interpretation are therefore to be expected and taken into account in any situational analysis or formulation of strategy and plans – especially when considering Value Journeys.

By fostering richer and more nuanced understanding throughout the Ecosystem, the Perceptual Positions allow for more informed, sustainable, and collaborative interactions and decision-making within and among Ecosystems participants – improved dialogue, increased synergy, greater strategic alignment and more harmonious operations.

Each of the positions provides specific insights:

  1. The Internal Organisation perspective fosters internal cohesion, aligning objectives and understanding shared experiences and goals.
  2. The Intra-Organisational perspective enhances inter-entity empathy and cooperation, fostering an understanding that is critical for collaborative endeavors and holistic functioning.
  3. Objective Observership aids in understanding and evaluating dynamics and interactions at an inter-organisational level, providing insights that can facilitate harmonised functioning and interaction.
  4. The Ecosystemic perspective enables the observation and understanding of large-scale patterns and systemic dynamics, providing insights that can inform strategic planning and intervention at the level of the entire ecosystemic level.

And this is why our ARC Diagnostics consciously reflect Perceptual Positions and lead to greater understanding of each one through their reporting.

By recognising, understanding and harnessing these different perspectives, this is just another example of how Value Management consciously responds to Complexity, gets the best out of People and enables Value to take the lead.