Seminar Leader Byron Ricks gives us a simple yet powerful exercise to demonstrate the necessity of being flexible in problem-solving situations. He focuses on the mental perspectives that form the foundation for reaching workable compromises in any business situation. In this activity, Byron uses two examples that drive home the idea of "perspective switching". He has found this activity useful in seminars on leadership and management skill building, customer service, communication skills, creativity, managing workplace negativity, and conflict management. He describes it as a very effective problem-positioning tool that can help lead to understanding and eventually to agreement.


  • Self-assessment

  • Managing negativity

  • Conflict management

  • Communication

  • Mental flexibility

  • Problem solving


Byron Ricks includes some feedback on the "Perspective Switching" activity from his trainees. He's been told that parents have used it effectively with their children while communicating differences they have about college choices. Participants have told him that this exercise helped them to understand how others' perceptions of them may differ from their perceptions of themselves . One manager in Indianapolis said she used this activity to explain to an employee how management viewed his performance. On occasion, Byron has met people in the airport who attended his seminar. They each put a hand up, turned it back and forth, and said "perspective switch!" Trainees find this activity easy to do and effective in many situations.


  • To understand that interpretation of what one sees is often determined by unique past experience, knowledge, feelings, attitudes, positions , and so on

  • To experience a "perspective switch" to understand that several points of view are possible

  • To realize the importance of seeing the same picture differently to reach a workable compromise


Any of the following found in G ames for T rainers books:

Simple Math puzzles, Flexibility Quotients, Druddles, Word Puzzles, and Brain Teasers

An overhead slide projector or flipchart and markers


All trainees must be able to see the overhead slides or flipchart


15 minutes, or longer if desired


  1. Put a group of simple number puzzles, mixed phrases, druddles, and brain teasers on an overhead slide or flipchart that everyone can see. These are in G ames for T rainers books.

  2. Ask trainees to raise their hands if they can solve one of these puzzles. Have them solve it aloud . Others will say "yeah, I see that now", and so on. Explain that to solve these puzzles, one must " perspective switch. " This requires changing perspective ten degrees and looking at the puzzle differently. Note how many trainees were able to see the solution after the answer was given. This is because they now are able to switch their perspective on the puzzle. Suggest that now trainees understand the "mentally" aspect of the perspective switching.

  3. Now hold your arm straight out with your hand pointing up as if you were a traffic cop. Ask trainees what they see? You will get varied answers; they will say things like, "Stop, Five Fingers, Four Fingers and a Thumb, A Wedding Band, Your Hand", and so on. Then ask, what side of my hand do you see? They will say the "front" side. You say, I see the "back" of my hand. Which view is right? Naturally, everyone is right, based on his or her perspective.

  4. Then ask, "If I see the back of my hand and you see the front of my hand, what has to happen for each of us to see the other's perspective? The answer is simple: I must either turn my hand so you can see my perspective or I must mentally perspective switch (refer back to the brain teasers on the slide or flipchart) and put myself in your position so I can see the picture from your perspective".

  5. Facilitate a discussion using workplace examples. This exercise allows for discussion in several different areas. One can be the fact that all trainees viewed the hand yet there were different interpretations of what they saw. A workplace example can be used to continue to develop this discussion. Next, we can discuss the fact that I see one side of my hand and the group sees another side of my hand. Again, a workplace scenario can substitute for the brain teaser puzzles or the hand, and be used to expand this discussion.

start example

Name :

Byron Ricks


Byron Ricks Seminars Group


6433 Glenhollow Drive


Plano, TX 75093






end example

BYRON RICKS focuses on presenting results-oriented seminars and the development of human potential and personal effectiveness. He has conducted seminars and workshops on customer service, interpersonal communication skills, how to handle difficult people, team leadership, and others. He holds Certified Trainer Accreditation, Professional Speaker Certification, and is an instructor for Ziglar Training Systems in addition to his work with the American Management Association. He is a member of the American Society for Training and Development.

Byron's professional background includes positions as Public Affairs Manager for the Indianapolis, IN Chamber of Commerce and Director of Administrative Services for National University in San Diego, CA. He has managed operations and supervised staff, implemented performance management standards, designed and implemented workshops for organizational development, and recruited, interviewed, and hired staff. He has served on numerous boards including First of America Bank Small Business Development Committee, Board of the Coalition for Minority Business Development, Youth Works Board of Directors, Women and Work Conference Board, Ely Lily MBD Coordinators, and the Career Options' Advisory Council.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts Degree in Human Behavior.

Byron Ricks has taught these AMA seminars:


Interpersonal Skills


Communication and Interpersonal Skills: A Seminar for Technical Professionals


How to Manage Workplace Negativity


Mentoring for Outstanding Job Performance

The AMA Trainers Activity Book. A Selection of the Best Learning Exercises from the Worlds Premiere Training Organization
The AMA Trainers Activity Book: A Selection of the Best Learning Exercises from the Worlds Premiere Training Organization
ISBN: 0814408141
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 61

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