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Your Blindside – The Value of Collective Intelligence

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Wed, May 9, 2012

It’s the oddest thing.  I feel fine, even great most of the time, yet the doctors, the numbers my blood work provide, the mask I have to wear when I go outside or when I’m around people, all say I’m sick!

I don’t feel sick!  I don’t believe I act sick. 

Inside me though there’s a cancer, Acute Myeloid Leukemia been detected, requiring me to get new blood (hemoglobin) and platelets on a regular basis.

Why am I blind to this?  Why do I need others to help me see my affliction?

Much like the movie The Blindside, where Michael Oher protects the blindside of his quarterback, each of us have blindsides in our business.  Too frequently it’s at the very top where it begins.  The leader fails to recognize his/her weaknesses and short sightedness.  In this case the impact of Collective Intelligenc dramatically increases.

Weekly meetings in Strategic Discipline offer the opportunity to work for a ten to thirty minute segment on Collective Intelligence.  This should focus on a rock – a large priority.  Get everyone’s input and drill into one of your big issues.  Make a presentation on one of your rocks with the person accountable leading it.

Ideally there’s preparation and the Collective Intelligence for this week is planned a week or more in advance.  That’s when you drill into something best.

Yet, often times Collective Intelligence issues don’t have the luxury of preparation.  Business advances too fast.  The selection of topics can come up that day or week. It may be a nagging threat that’s been avoided, or procrastinated about.  Finally someone gets fed up and releases the elephant into the room! 


Collective Intelligence allows the leadership team to discuss problems openly.  It draws on the collective intelligence in the room to harness everyone’s experience and allow for the best solution to emerge through enlightened, creative, resourceful and responsible dialogue.

Allow me to visually represent how problems get solved in most companies. describe the imageIn this image we see a human brain that is blue and green – soft colors; this image represents (based on research) that tones and hues of what the brain looks like when an individual is solving a problem all alone – neural activity exists, but it is not optimized and there is reserve brain capacity and capability that is not being engaged and used.

Now look at how the brain looks when working collaboratively.  Look at the colors now – bright, warm reds, yellows and oranges. In this image the brain capacity and capability is being used strongly and reflected by neural activity creating these warm colors. Brain Solve Collaboratively resized 600This image represents a person that works with other team members, verbally discussing, solving a problem through collaborative process. This is also an important distinction of many successful growth companies – they solve problems in teams using collaborate technique and harness the collective intelligence of the entire team together.


If you’ve been following the Rockefeller Habits weekly meeting rhythms and not been having healthy collective intelligence discussion, perhaps its symptomatic of a deeper issue, a lack of trust between team members.

Many times the reason why issues don’t get addressed is due to the lack of trust within team leadership.  Team members are afraid to be vulnerable, and are reluctant to bring conflicts or problems to the discussion. 

The latter is precisely why Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business and his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is so critical to building your business.  Let’s explore Lencioni’s The Advantage and its key leadership principles next blog.  

Topics: collective intelligence, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, employee performance, meeting rhythms, productivity, The Advantage

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Doug Wick, President

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

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