Dear Colleagues! This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #877 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans aims to share knowledge and wisdom from Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to email@example.com for publishing your contributions here.
Scenario – A new product launch is being worked upon. Since it will be at least among the first three launches of this generic, if not the first, there is an air of secrecy around. Only a select few can know what is happening, even fewer who know the progress in real time. Ironically, they do not realize that it is not very difficult to know which company is working on which new product, unless they are cheating the government. Import data is available from customs department which shows the import of materials done by any company, its quantity, source, and price. If a company imported few grams of a new materials, it shows they are working on the development of that product. If your contacts in local and central offices of DRAP are good, you will know about the approval for new product development. Another source is suppliers who divulge this information as a matter of pride or as a reference to convince others. Another avenue is the team involved in product development, who may talk to their friends, mentors, seniors in good faith. You can see that being highly secretive is of no consequence.
I understand trade secrecy is not the only reason for this behavior due to which the project team is trapped in the inside view, which is inside an inside, as it is within the same company.
Why do we voluntarily get trapped in the inside view which limits our vision, and not embrace the outside view which may give a fresh perspective?
As humans, we often navigate life through the lens of our personal experiences, biases, and perspectives—the “inside view.” This tendency to focus primarily on our own thoughts, beliefs, and individual circumstances often leads us to overlook a broader, more objective outlook—the “outside view.” The question arises: Why are we so prone to being trapped in this internal perspective, and what might we gain from embracing the outside view?
The inside view is deeply ingrained in our psyche due to several inherent factors:
We naturally feel more connected and attuned to our personal experiences and immediate surroundings. Our familiarity with our own thoughts and feelings makes them more accessible and influential in our decision-making processes. We feel more comfortable and confident with our own thinking and experiences. We are also prone to various cognitive biases, such as the optimism bias or confirmation bias, which reinforce our tendencies to focus on internal perspectives. These biases often cloud our judgment and hinder our ability to consider external viewpoints objectively. We put a lot of emphasis on our past experiences on which we might be able to fall back on, anytime.
When we are personally involved in a situation or decision, our emotions and vested interests can skew our perception, making it challenging to step back and adopt an external, more impartial viewpoint. It is natural to get emotionally involved with our work, and we, Asians, probably do it more than other races do. Our emotional hype makes us possess the projects and we don’t want to leave control.
Assessing situations from an outside perspective often requires additional time, effort, and cognitive resources. It’s more convenient to rely on our internal assessments and intuitive judgments than to invest energy in considering broader, less familiar perspectives. Senior managers are notorious for relying on their ‘gut feeling’ and boasting about it also. What they do not realize it that their ‘gut feeling’ comes from their own ‘gut’, not from an oracle outside. Maybe it is rather refusing to stay within their comfort zone and trying to do everything from there.
Benefits of Outside Perspective
Having said that, I urge you to embrace the outside perspective for several compelling reasons.
Decision making improves. The outside view allows us to consider broader trends, historical data, and the experiences of others. This broader context often leads to more informed and rational decision-making, reducing the impact of personal biases.
Risk is mitigated. By incorporating external viewpoints, we can better anticipate risks and unforeseen challenges. Understanding how similar situations have unfolded in the past with others, helps in foreseeing potential pitfalls.
Creativity and Innovation comes in. Embracing diverse perspectives stimulates creativity and innovation. Drawing inspiration from outside sources and different viewpoints can lead to novel solutions and fresh ideas.
Strategic Planning is refined. Considering the outside view enables us to develop more robust plans and strategies. By understanding the broader landscape, we can make more realistic assessments and set more achievable goals.
Empathy is Promoted. Embracing external perspectives fosters empathy and understanding towards others’ experiences and viewpoints. This can strengthen relationships, improve communication, and promote a more inclusive and harmonious society.
How can you shift from the inside view to incorporating the outside perspective? Few suggestions are here: I am keeping them brief in the interest of post length, though each one can be expanded.
- Actively seek out diverse opinions, feedback, and experiences from a variety of sources to broaden your understanding of a situation or problem.
- Question your assumptions and biases, consciously considering how they might be influencing your perspective. Encourage open-mindedness and critical thinking.
- Examine past experiences and historical data related to similar situations to gain insights and understand patterns or trends.
- Detach yourself emotionally from the situation, if possible, to gain a more objective perspective. Consider the situation as an impartial observer would.
- Put yourself in the shoes of others to understand their viewpoints, experiences, and motivations. Empathy fosters a deeper appreciation for diverse perspectives.
While the inside view offers a sense of familiarity and personal connection, embracing the outside perspective enriches our understanding, promotes rational decision-making, and cultivates a broader worldview. By striking a balance between these two perspectives, we can navigate work and life’s complexities with greater wisdom, empathy, and foresight.Concluded.