The challenge of developing your point of view

Dennis Sparks

The most difficult work many professionals do… is getting someone else to agree with their point of view and take action. The second most difficult work professionals do is developing a point of view in the first place. – Seth Godin

In my experience, Seth Godin has it exactly right. It is common sense: Without clarity regarding one’s point of view it is virtually impossible to get others to agree with it. If we don’t know what we think and cannot express it clearly, it is very difficult to influence others.

Many leaders do not know and therefore cannot clearly express what they think about many important educational issues because:

  • they devote more time and attention to developing the clarity of others than they do to their own clarity;
  • developing clarity requires time and attention, both of which are in short supply in the daily lives of leaders, and
  • developing clarity is an intellectually demanding task that is easy to postpone.

It is essential that leaders sufficiently value clarity to make it a daily priority. To that end they:

  • clarify their thinking through writing, often in multiple drafts, before sharing their thinking with others, and
  • further refine their views by explaining them to others with an openness to having their views refined and even altered in those conversations.

What processes do you use to develop your clarity, and in what ways do you interact with others that you find most influential?

2 Responses to “The challenge of developing your point of view”

  1. 1 Lmacdonald October 8, 2014 at 9:08 am

    My clarity is realized when I allow myself time to think, and record my thoughts. Then having a good conversation with someone I respect and trust, brings my thoughts together.
    Whether the person is someone who can add perspective or sometimes just someone from outside the profession that is a good listener, the verbal delivery of my thoughts allows me to organize what’s in my head and this is how I reach clarity.
    If you know your audience and their perspective, delivery is all about dispelling what their concerns will be, and selling the positive outcomes.
    If you truly did your homework, prior to presenting your ideas, you will be able to get buy-in. Allowing others to build upon your thoughts, provide feedback and help modify will create team ownership of the idea and then you have commitment.

    • 2 Dennis Sparks October 8, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I particularly appreciate the emphasis your place on developing clarity through conversations with those who may have perspectives different than our own, particularly when they are good listeners.

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