70-494 70-673 500-005 1Z0-060 C9560-503 640-875 N10-006 98-367 70-534 NS0-505 70-342 CHFP 070-410 640-878 1V0-603 1Z0-804 C8010-250 312-50V9 C2150-508 98-368 CLOUDF 70-411 70-461 220-901 70-488 070-341 PK0-003 E20-547 70-412 70-686 500-285 CISM 101-400 102-400 parajumpers outlet parajumpers sale http://www.canadagoosestore.be/

Blog

February 13, 2012

Seeing our blind spots 

Last week, a CEO pulled me aside to tell me that a member of his team—call him Allen—was stirring up trouble. Bob, the CEO, was furious. His top group had just hammered out a three-year strategic plan, which Allen said he’d support. But now Allen was raising basic doubts about it with his team and criticizing Bob’s leadership.

The problem, Bob explained, was that Allen lacked integrity. He was trying to protect his unit. He was a liar. He wasn’t trustworthy.

In arriving at this explanation, Bob is doing what cognitive psychologists say we all do. He is focusing on what he can see—Allen’s behavior—and he’s looking for the cause of that behavior inside of Allen: at his motives and character. Once Bob formulates the problem in this way, his options are few: fire Allen and lose his connections and institutional knowledge, or find some way to manage or work around him.

What Bob doesn’t see is what we all fail to see: that the problem resides not only in Allen, but in the nature of their relationship. The two of them have together created a relationship that is actually encouraging Allen to say one thing, then do another.

It happens every day and creates untold costs, but we just don’t see it. The reason is simple: Even though it takes two to build a relationship, each person sees only half the picture.

As the diagram outlines, Bob can see that Allen isn’t directly raising his doubts and that this makes him (Bob) furious.

But what Bob can’t see so easily—what is far less salient—is what he himself is doing. It doesn’t occur to him that he rarely pressure-tests his ideas with his top group, that he’s quick to discount their concerns, that he downplays ideas different from his own, and so on.

Similarly, unless Bob asks Allen and Allen tells him, Bob can’t see how Allen is reacting to what he’s doing.

All of that is invisible to him. All Bob sees is Allen and Allen’s impact on him. He can’t see himself or his impact on Allen as easily.

This asymmetric awareness is a recipe for people blaming each other and for assuming that individuals alone are the root cause of our troubles, not the relationships we’re building with them.

Even worse, it’s a recipe for losing purchase on the things we can control: what we ourselves are doing to create relationships that adversely affect us and our organizations.

To get out of this trap, we need to see our blind spots. Only then can we begin to see what the other person sees. How can we do that? Stay tuned to find out.




2 Responses to “Seeing our blind spots”

  1. Tracy on February 15th, 2012 at 4:23 pm :

    staying tuned…. tring to find out how we can do that!?? I will be buying your book on my way home from work tonight … or on amazon. So far, I think this subject matter and your writing is beyond brilliant!!! Keep going …. hurry, please!!

  2. Keri on February 29th, 2012 at 10:03 am :

    it sounds like you are describing the Accidental Adversaries archetype – one that perplexes so many organizations. I, too, will be tuned in to see your perspective on to address this very common issue…

Leave a Reply


This page was printed from: http://www.dianamclainsmith.com. For more information, visit us on the web