In fact, the perception/reality thing is one of our recurring themes at Answer Guy Central, and anyone looking to implement business change will do well to keep that old axiom in mind. Service Level Agreements? Your Reality is all about Perception. Groupon and other “daily deal” sites? Reality for vendors and customers both hinge on perception.
Even so admired a figure as Dr. Martin Luther King is subject to a reality altered by perception. Maya Angelou, a former Poet Laureate of The United States, has taken a look at the new Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington DC, and she isn’t happy.
Ms. Angelou points out that words on the statue of Dr. King, which have been altered to fit the statue, “make Dr. King seem arrogant”. By compressing his words to fit, the context has changed.
Perception is reality. And I agree with Maya Angelou.
“I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness” sounds trite. It makes Dr. King sound arrogant. But Dr. King never spoke those words. Here’s the actual quote:
“If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice,” King said. “Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
Sounds completely different, doesn’t it?
Keep that in mind. Say not just what you mean, but in a way that makes you sound as you wish. Because even in business change, perception is reality.