Humans have always been selective about what they attend to and how they interpret information, and this is often influenced by their beliefs and values as seen in the research on Eyewitness Testimony. For example, if shown a video of an event, the presence of a gun in the scene will draw attention to the exclusion of other data, leading to poor recall of the ‘facts’. Similarly, having strong racial or cultural prejudice can lead to a reconstructed memory of an event that supports stereotypes, despite the facts as seen by others being different. The witness is not actually lying, but honestly believes what they saw was the factual reality on the day, much like how a football penalty decision can be seen very differently by opposing fans, despite everyone having seen the same TV slow motion replay!
Whether we like it or not, individuals we work with also hold very different conceptions of what constitutes a ‘fact’ and how that should be interpreted. Understanding how others see and interpret the world is vital to effective leadership so consider what others see as their map of the world and what they consider is a ‘fact’.
What facts do you believe to be true that others may not?
How can you establish what others hold to be fact?
What is the impact on your team, of people who hold alternative facts as their reality?