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Our Unique Technology and Approach

Harnessing the Power of Perspectives

At the core of VistaShift’s Team Technology is the science of perspective taking.

Simply put, we put people through a set of online perspective-taking exercises that take them out of their normal worldview and put them into a fresh series of views – all in the context of addressing a targeted business challenge.

We then use proprietary algorithms and AI assistance to analyze the results and produce impactful reports used by leaders and consultants to drive forward progress for the organization with the team.

This process does two things:

  • It stretches participants’ thinking – prompting them to come up with fresh insights they might not come up with otherwise, while opening their minds to ideas other than their own.
  • It also reveals volumes about their attitudes and engagement. When it comes to getting teams to work better together and arrive at consensus, it’s not just what people think, but also what they feel, that matters.

The Perspective-Taking Process

The VistaShift process involves collecting a small team’s information from at least 3 different perspectives:

  1. The Normal Perspective– This is what participants normally think and how they normally think. It captures their reflexive thinking.
  2. The “Other” Perspective– This involves responding to the same set of questions by adopting the point of view from role other than their own, from outside the team – a customer or competitor, for example. Responding from this perspective is designed to be a stretch, but not a big one.
  3. The Optimal Distance Perspective– This perspective is a bigger stretch, further out from the participant’s everyday view. It’s selected to optimize the opportunity for creativity and unique insights.

Mapping a Team’s Mental Landscape

VistaShift does more than assess what individuals think and feel – it synthesizes a map of what the team thinks and feels as a whole around the identified business challenge.

For example, our Meeting Success Explorer product surfaces what team members want and expect from an up coming meeting. Our Business Challenge Explorer product surfaces the team’s ideas and concerns around solving particular business challenge, like a customer satisfaction issue or a process innovation imperative.

This enables leaders and consultants to navigate the ‘team terrain,’ identifying where there’s conflict and coherence. Where there’s opportunity pull the team together and where there’s more work to be done.

The focus on a specific business issue helps generate useable solutions to drive an organization forward. And it helps clear away the team-based obstacles to arriving at a solution and building consensus around it. This makes VistaShift doubly powerful.

As a by-product, it helps build team coherence without pausing for traditional team building exercises and it helps teams identify and embrace change without pausing for traditional change management interventions.

The Value of Anonymity and of Sharing

VistaShift is entirely anonymous. Neither leaders, nor participants nor consultants see who said what. This neutralizes the distortions of group dynamics and hierarchy. It frees participant so to say things that they may not say otherwise.

What everyone can see are the reports of the team’s collective thinking, engagement and alignment (when these are shared.) Sharing reports requires participants to react to ideas based on their merit alone. This means that participants ideas will be really heard by others – and important ingredient of team success.

Team members who are given the summary reports, can also mentally map their thinking against the overall group. Are they with the majority, with a meaningful minority or alone in their thoughts on a specific question? How does that affect their views?

They can go into a team meeting enriched by seeing all the ideas, which in turn may stimulate further breakout thinking of their own. They’re best prepared for the deep discussions that it takes to resolve complex and vital issues.

The Proven Benefits of Perspective Taking

Perspective taking has several known scientific benefits.  When properly used, perspective taking activates a different part of the brain than what we normally use doing everyday activities. This process uncovers knowledge not normally thought about. VistaShift has developed an approach to formulating problems and conducting perspective taking to take advantage of this knowledge.

 Additional Proven Benefits of Perspective Taking

  1. Increases positive attitude toward others
  2. Strengthens social bonds
  3. Promotes interpersonal understanding
  4. Increases trustworthiness in relationships
  5. Increases understanding across functional boundaries
  6. Decreases some cognitive bias
  7. Increases empathy
  8. Reduces “it’s not my job” feeling

With all the known benefits of perspective taking there are no specified ways for people to effectively take perspectives – until now. VistaShift’s proprietary process allows for easy, effective understanding of how to properly take perspectives to provide the best insights to create common understanding.

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*References:
-Boland, R.J., & Tenkasi, R.V. (1995). Perspective making and perspective-taking in communities of knowing. Organization Science, 6(4), 350-372.
-Epley, N., Caruso, E.M., & Bazerman, M.H. (2006). When perspective taking increases taking: reactive egoism in social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(5), 872-889.
-Galinsky, A.D., & Mussweiler, T. (2001). First offers as anchors: The role of perspective-taking and negotiator focus. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(4), 657-669
– Lahnakoski et all (2014), Synchronous brain activity across individuals underlies shared psychological perspectives. Elsevier. 100, 316-324.
-Parker, S & Axtell, C. (2001). Seeing Another Viewpoint: Antecedents and Outcomes of Employee Perspective Taking. Academy of  Management Journal 44(6), 1085-1100.
-Selman, R. (1980). The Growth of Interpersonal Understanding, Developmental and Clinical Analyses. Academic Press.
-Wang, C et al. (2014). Perspective-Taking Increases Willingess to Engage in Intergroup Contact. Plos One 9(1). 1-8.
-Williams. M (2012). Perspective Taking Building Positive Interpersonal Connections and Trustworthiness One Interaction at a Time. Cornell University ILR Collection