Principle: The Beachball

The principle of the beachball is one of the most powerful principles on perspective taking that you can bring into a facilitation.

Here's a script to introduce the Principle of the Beachball:

"Imagine that there was a beachball in the center of the room. Based on my perspective, my senses, my experience, my expertise, everything that I am is telling me that this beachball is red. So what’s the first thing that someone on the other side of the room thinks when they hear me say that? That I’m wrong! How could that possibly be? From their perspective, the beachball is clearly blue.
"The principle of the beachball tells us to hold the space for all perspectives. No one can see an entire beachball from one perspective. It’s impossible. What we’re going to be working on today will be a lot more ambiguous than a beachball. No one will have the one perfect perspective. There’s no such thing. Trust in your colleagues, that when they share what they share, they’re giving you a glimpse of their perspective. And challenge yourself to say, “How might ALL these perspectives be true?” By bringing in all perspectives, we get a clearer picture of the whole."

I’ve heard the principle of the beachball used by many facilitators, including Elise Yanker and Nancy Reuscher, so I’m not sure where it originally came from. I use it so often that I actually carry a little inflatable beachball with me to help make the point. The little beachball also serves as a pretty good talking stick. 

Principle of the Beachball

Principle of the Beachball