Perception and Reality


The question is: Is reality what we perceive it to be?  If enough people believe something to be true, does that then become the truth?  Some may be reading this and thinking that if enough people have the same interpretation of events, and they all perceive it the same way, it must be true.  The strange thing is, this may very well be the case.   I have participated in a number of business confidence surveys in the past year as local organizations try and gauge how the economy is doing.  The surveys have all indicated an increase in business confidence and a feeling that  the recession is over and we are on the road to recovery.  I have been wondering if the act of asking the question of business in and of itself has influenced how we perceive the economic climate and therefore influenced economy out of recession.  Entrepreneur’s, business owners, and business executives are usually a pretty positive bunch.  Ask them how they view the future and the likely response will be that they expect things to get better.  Those that see doom and gloom will likely experience it.

So, we have a bunch of business leaders who perceive that the recession is over and we are back to a period of growth, and all of a sudden, the recession is over and we are seeing signs of growth.  Have our perceptions changed reality?

I’ve been invited to, and attended a number of talks on how to survive the recession, how to grow grow your business in a recession and how to make the most out of the recession.  I have listened with fascination as as we are told:

  • To results, change your beliefs
  • You need to understand what your customers want
  • You need to create barriers to entry for your competitors
  • Divest your business of under performing assets, non-profitable clients
  • Simplify your business
  • Train, transfer, or terminate staff
  • Look to innovate
  • Build your brand
  • Create a powerful vision

It has been a wonderful experience in perception.  The perception is that businesses have NOT been focusing on the above and they must now do so.  Does this mean that prior to the recession, businesses did not train staff, did not innovate, created complex systems and processes, didn’t worry about branding?  Of course they did.  The reality is that the above list is really what good business practice is all about.  There is nothing new there, there is no earth shattering revelations, just a good common sense approach to business.  It’s time that we all believe in what we do, that we perceive ourselves as successful,  after all,  my perception is my reality, isn’t yours?

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One Response to “Perception and Reality”

  1. John Shattock Says:

    I agree Brian – perception is reality. More to the point for business people – other people’s perceptions (especially customers’ and clients’) are the reality they need to deal with, i.e. try to influence.
    Did we just have a recession? Or did we think there was going to be one, therefore there was?
    In May last year I wrote about how the “R-word Index” was alive and kicking in New Zealand and influencing us into recession faster and more effectively than other countries:
    http://www.btob.co.nz/cms/regular/getting_the_message_across/2008/05/art10003216.php
    That piece describes how media mentions of “recession” are a proven advance predictor of the real thing, and how business confidence surveys are either an effect or a cause.
    I guess now that those surveys are positive, we can look forward to our more upbeat perceptions becoming reality.

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