Resolving Business Partner Conflict With Perception Filters

© 2024 Richard Chandler, MA, LPC, The Business Partners Counselor

How might your personal experiences, beliefs, and background impact your business decisions and relationships? ‘Perception filters’ are deeply ingrained cognitive patterns that shape how we interpret the world around us, and they play a pivotal role in business partnerships.

Differing backgrounds and experiences can lead to business partner conflict
Differing backgrounds and experiences can lead to business partner conflict

Understanding our cognitive bias is crucial for effective communication, conflict resolution, and overall business success. In this article, we discuss the concept of perception filters, explore how they impact business partnerships, and provide practical strategies for managing their influence.

What Do We Mean by “Perception Filters?”

Perception filters are deeply ingrained cognitive patterns that shape how we interpret the world. Factors, including upbringing, culture, education, and professional experiences, can influence each person’s interpretative framework or “cognitive bias.”

Perception filters impact the way we view the world
Perception filters impact the way we view the world

10 Perception Filter Biases that Impact How We Interpret Situations

  1. Roles: Our personal and professional roles shape our perspectives. For example, a parent’s role might influence how you prioritize tasks.
  2. Identity: Our identities, including gender, race, and sexual orientation, can significantly shape our perceptions and experiences.
  3. Socioeconomic Status: Our economic and social class can influence our attitudes toward money, risk, and opportunities.
  4. Cultural Background: We all perceive through the lens of culture, which shapes our beliefs, values, and attitudes, which can, in turn, influence our perceptions.
  5. Political Views: Our political lens shapes our perceptions about societal issues, economic policies, and individual rights.
  6. Geographical Location: Where we live or grew up can influence our views on climate change and urban development. Have we been raised rural or urban? East Coast, West Coast, or Midwest?
  7. Education: Our level of education and the field studied can significantly shape our perspectives and the way we process information. Private or public schools? Academic or technical college?
  8. Professional Experiences: Our workplace experiences shape our attitudes toward work, teamwork, leadership, and comfort in working with minimal vs. significant supervision. Have you worked for large organizations or small ones? Non-profit and religious vs. private companies?
  9. Mindset: Whether more stable and fixed or growth-oriented, our mindset can influence how we approach challenges and opportunities.
  10. Personal Experiences: Our personal experiences, including our interactions with others and past successes and failures, can significantly shape our perceptions and attitudes.

Perception Filters Inform Our Communication and Personality

Perception filters affect our communication and thinking patterns, often leading to misunderstandings, conflicts, and avoidance between business partners.

Our perception filters can form a part of our personality—our experiences and surroundings influence the person we become. Regarding conflict resolution, the critical factor is awareness of the perception filters that make up your psyche. Knowing through what lenses you view situations and what potential biases you carry produce productive interactions and can steer you clear of conflict.

Corporate Vs. Entrepreneurial Experience Impacts Perception Filters in Business Partnerships

We often need to pay more attention to the role of perception filters in business partnerships because ignoring our mental biases can lead to disagreements in business direction or even significant conflicts. Such conflicts can have their roots in differences in professional backgrounds, disparities in socioeconomic statuses, or divergences in personal values and beliefs.

Corporate Viewpoints

For instance, consider a scenario where one partner comes from a corporate background. Based on their previous experiences, they may have developed certain perceptions about the most acceptable and effective strategies and tactics. These could include a preference for structured processes, formal reporting lines, professionalism, and risk aversion.

Entreprenurial Perspectives

On the other hand, another partner might have spent most of their career in smaller, entrepreneurial settings. Their perceptions could be vastly different, driven by a more flexible, dynamic approach to business, an acceptance of higher risk in pursuit of potential rewards, and a preference for less formal, more direct communication channels.

Experience as an entrepreneur will inform business partner expectations
Experience as an entrepreneur will inform business partner expectations

How Corporate Vs. Entreprenurial Perceptipion Bias Lead to Conflict

These inherent differences in perspectives can lead to disagreements and misunderstandings in the partnership. What one partner views as a straightforward, sensible approach, the other might see as overly cautious or reckless.

These disagreements can start small, but without adequate communication and resolution mechanisms, they can quickly escalate into larger conflicts, potentially jeopardizing the success and longevity of the business partnership.

Perception Filters and Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution between business partners frequently necessitates a profound comprehension of each individual’s unique perception filters. Experiences, beliefs, and backgrounds fundamentally shape our filters. Recognizing and acknowledging these perception filters is crucial in the resolution process.

Only through this understanding can one begin to comprehend how these filters might influence the interpretation of various situations and responses to conflicts that arise within the business context.

For instance, partners may come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, which can result in a divergence in attitudes towards financial risk. These varying perspectives, shaped by our unique experiences, manifest in differing attitudes toward business decisions.

Business partners unable to connect due to differing perceptions
Business partners unable to connect due to differing perceptions

Differing perceptual viewpoints often lead to disagreements over business strategies, financial investments, or operational procedures. Therefore, understanding and acknowledging cognitive biases can facilitate conflict resolution and foster a more harmonious business relationship in the long run.

Strategies To Address Perception Filters in Business Conflicts

Awareness of perception filters and their influence on conflicts is the first step toward effective conflict resolution. Business partners must strive to keep their perception filters in their peripheral vision rather than letting them dominate their perspective.

Doing so entails acknowledging our cognitive biases. In a disagreement, notice if the lens you are looking through could prevent you from objectively seeing your business partner and the issues. Work towards mitigating their influence. Adopt conflict resolution strategies focusing on understanding and addressing the underlying biases in perception.

Business partners connecting past perception filters
Business partners connecting past perception filters

Four Ways to Utilize Perception Filters to Improve Business Partner Communications

  1. Self-awareness: Regularly reflect and identify your own perception filters. Understand how they might influence your interpretations and reactions in a business setting.
  2. Open Discussion: Initiate open and honest discussions about perception filters with your business partner to help you understand where each other is coming from at times when you disagree.
  3. Active Listening: Practice active listening during conflicts. Listen carefully to understand your partner’s perspective and how their perception filters might influence their viewpoint.
  4. Seek Third-Party Mediation: For persistent conflicts, seek help from a neutral third party who provides an outside perspective and helps identify perception filters.

An Exercise To Understand and Mitigate Perception Filters

One effective exercise for understanding and mitigating the influence of perception filters involves consciously identifying and analyzing the perception filters that each partner carries.

This consists of listing the perception filters central to how each partner communicates and processes information and understanding how these filters impact communication and thinking. Reflecting on these perception filters and openly discussing them helps business partners better understand each other and work toward effective conflict resolution.

Business partners receiving mediation for better communication
Business partners receiving mediation for better communication

Summarizing The Power of Perception Filters in Business Communication and Relationships

In conclusion, understanding and acknowledging perception filters is crucial to managing conflicts in business partnerships. Ingrained cognitive patterns, shaped by unique experiences and backgrounds, significantly influence how we interpret and react to situations.

Business partners can effectively navigate conflicts and foster a more harmonious working relationship by developing self-awareness, engaging in open discussions, practicing active listening, and seeking third-party mediation when necessary. Remember, the goal is not to eliminate our perception filters - an impossible task - but to better understand how mental biases shape our interactions and decisions.

Scroll to Top