Hello SOTGC community,
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing a lot thinking about “perception” versus “intention.” Most of it stems from my recent read of Emily Bennington’s “Who Says It’s A Man’s World” and some of it due to my own “Mirror Mirror” moment a couple years ago. Regardless of WHY, I have found over the last year or so that I’m constantly checking to make sure that what I’m INTENDING to convey is what is actually BEING perceived.
Three yeas ago a neurosurgeon presented at our National Sales Meeting about a new product we had launched for spine surgery. He gave quite an informative as well as humorous presentation, and he started it off with showing us pictures of the difference between “precision versus accuracy.” Below are some illustrations of the definition. The purpose of HIS use of these definitions was to talk about the outcomes he could get with this new product and how to best go about presenting the message to surgeons we were approaching when trying to get trials up and running. Several years later I’m still thinking about his presentation, but for a different objective than he had.
For the purpose of this post let’s say that precise means how well you consistently project a certain image. Then accuracy is how close to what you INTEND to convey is what is REALLY being perceived. If you look at the above pictures you can see that while being precise could be thought of as a great thing (because you’re being consistent), it is NOT a good thing if your “precise perception” isn’t matching your intentions. While being accurate with your message is preferred because it means that intentions are matching perceptions, if you are not precise (IE consistent in this perception) you could end up confusing the hell out of your targeted audience. Have you ever heard someone talk about one of your co-workers? Have you ever heard them say “just to warn you, sometimes he’s in a good mood and sometimes he’s not. It’s like you never know WHICH ‘Bob’ you’re going to get.” This is showing that while “Bob” is sometimes accurate, he’s not always precise.
For the first three years with my company the perception of “who I am” was very precise. However, if you compared the perception my co-workers had of me, versus the intention that I wanted to portray of my personality, they were as inaccurate as you could get.
It takes a VERY self-aware person to be both precise as well as accurate when they match their intentions to the overall perception. If you look at the liked AND respected leaders in your company, and if you’ve had a chance to sit down one-on-one with them, you might notice that part of the reason that they are so well liked AND respected is that their true personality matches the overall “company perception” of who they are as both a leader, a co-worker, and a human being.
I guess the purpose of this post is that it took some REALLY nasty comments left (anonymously) about my performance as a field trainer two years ago for me to sit down, pull out the target, and realize that while I was precise about peoples’ perception of me, the inaccuracy of my “perception versus intention” was keeping me from getting to that next level in both my career, as well as my personal relationships.
So if you feel that you have been doing everything right (both career and personal) and yet you’re not getting that promotion, or connecting with that person the way you want (from a personal level) maybe sit down and pull out your own target. Sometimes it can shock you how precision and accuracy have to work in harmony for these things to come to fruition…and how yours might be missing the mark.
Marney Reid is a Marketing Program Manager for a global industry leader in medical device. She is also the Founder of Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling. She has nine years of sales experience in male dominated industries and is transcending the Glass Ceiling by using her authentic value proposition as a competitive advantage.