Remember the school playground? Those moments when teams were being created to play a game or do an activity? Remember how it felt? For some of us it was unpleasant, waiting, wondering if we would ever be picked. Some of us were treated as leftovers begrudgingly distributed at the end. While others of us never experienced this as we were chosen first.
Last night, we were talking about school over dinner. My son became upset at one point. At his school, there is a child at school who uses a walking frame and another in a wheelchair. He was upset because he saw how much they struggled on the playground due to uneven ground. His sadness was related to the other children not being able to join in the fun. He did not want a flat playground with no climbing frames, he just wanted everyone to be able to enjoy climbing as much as he did.
It’s good to remember not everyone experienced it the same as us. One of the most crucial skills we can learn is see life through another person’s eyes. This is very different than “if I were in their situation, I’d do ….” as you are not them. Seeing through their eyes is trying to embrace their attitudes towards life and ‘see’ a specific experience.
As we seek to improve our work, our organisations, our society. As we seek to bring about change, hearing and truly seeing another’s perspective is vital to cultivate. This is hard when we are frantic. It’s hard when we are impatient. And it’s nearly impossible when do it last minute.
This is another reason to insist on multidisciplinary teams or at least stakeholders for projects. And yes, we can’t please everyone. There are often trade-offs to make. But we can hear from everyone.
If we design, create, and listen only to the majority, we will only perpetuate the inequalities that exist.
And yes, we can also learn to pick ourselves and not wait to be chosen by others.