The Mediation Times


Visitor’s Eyes: Guest Post by Simon Howarth

by Amanda on September 22, 2011

Simon HowarthGuest post by Simon Howarth, Director of Teviot Associates Ltd

Earlier this year Simon attended the Foundation Commercial Mediation Skills training course which I teach with Charles Middleton-Smith at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London.

One of the learning goals of the course is understanding how you can use your new skills ‘from tomorrow’ whilst you build and develop your mediation practice. We say that marketing and education for key business groups in your network is absolutely key. As part of his marketing and education programme, Simon produces a weekly ‘tip’ via email where he applies the mediation approach to areas relevant to his market. They are really good. So good, I asked Simon if he would post his latest tip here on my blog.

I once had occasion to take a photograph of one part of the chemical plant I was responsible for, whilst preparing for a site open day.  I then took a look at the photo whilst sitting in the office later that day and it’s fair to say I was less than impressed!

The photograph showed an extruder, a key piece of process equipment, which I looked at at least once a day as I walked through the plant.  What amazed me was how dirty, untidy and generally uncared for the equipment and it’s general area looked in the photograph.  As I examined the photo I realised that by viewing the extruder in this way, whilst sitting in my office, I was seeing it (or even looking at it) as a visitor might do when viewing it for the first time.  It certainly wasn’t the impression of our operation I wanted to give my friends and family, let alone the local community!

Needless to say, a review of the maintenance and housekeeping procedures associated with that area followed, however this made me think about the concept of ‘Visitors eyes’

In my mind Visitor’s eyes can be quite powerful in two distinct ways:

  • As in the case above, they will see things that everyday familiarity either prevents us from seeing or makes us complacent to.  A different perspective can very often lead to a different awareness and a step change in performance.
  • Alternatively they can bring our attention to things that we were completely unaware of.  Visitor’s eyes can often hold up the metaphorical mirror and provide feedback about things that to the outsider are quite obvious but to us are completely new information.  Armed with this new information we can decide to make important changes to the ‘status quo’.

To my mind the Visitor’s eye view, be it literal or metaphorical, will provide insights which can yield benefits to businesses when considering any of:-  Physical facilities, Business Processes, Personal Behaviours / Leadership style.

How could you or your business benefit from a pair of Visitor’s eyes?

Simon Howarth


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