The problem with willful blindness is, we are unaware of our it.
Willful blindness is a legal concept. “if there are things that you should know, could know, and somehow manage not to know, the law holds you responsible.”
Terms used to identify willful blindness include, “deliberate or willful ignorance,” “conscious avoidance,” and “deliberate indifference.”
Margaret Heffernan feels this is the number one leadership challenge in any organization, to create the conditions when something is going wrong, someone is going to stand up and say so!
IF this isn’t true, how do we explain Enron, BP’s Texas Oil Refinery Explosion, 2007-2008 housing bubble, and our utter blindness to Coronavirus?
What we need in our organizations is for people to be unafraid to speak up, to resist the urge to be a pleaser. That’s often not considered proper behavior. In most organizations, people want to fit in, avoid conflict, and maintain the status quo.
Watch this short video on a man Margaret Heffernan shared, who, while addressing his issue, refused to see the bigger company issue he needed to confront.
If you watched the video, this man recognizes the problem with his coworker, feels it for two years, and yet only seeks to relieve himself of the issue rather than confront its effects within the company.
HOW TO REMOVE BLINDNESS
In Willful Blindness Heffernan shares ideas on what makes people speak up. In this video she shares the need to teach people how to have courageous conversations.
Heffernan discovered, once people have one small experience, they discover contrary to their expectations they don’t get their heads blown off, they feel much more courageous about doing it again, and again. And when others around them see this happening they take courage and feel they might be able to do it too!
When mistakes are shared publicly, people learn mistakes are natural and okay. We need to learn from them, and not bury them.
One of my company’s created a group within their organization to help them remove their blinders. This Advisory Council met on Friday to discuss concerns, feedback, issues they see in the company and to specifically identify practices working now during Coronavirus and developments for the company’s future. These meetings have been monthly for over a year now. They’ve brought needed attention to areas the leadership might have been blind to. It’s contributed greatly to the company’s 45% growth surge in 2019.
Paul Birch British Airways first corporate jester notes, “When things go wrong, employees usually have a good idea of how to fix them. You need to create a state in which they’ve got the courage to do something. You want to build organizations where everyone sees provocation as one of their essential roles.”
BE-CI’s Advisory Council may not be perfect, but it is a step in the direction to prevent willful blindness for their leadership team and company.
SUMMARY ON WILLFUL BLINDNESS
Technology is never going to take the place of human interaction.
To prevent Willful Blindness, start with a default assumption we are blind.
We don’t want to see the stuff that’s most dangerous.
Create conditions in your organization were it’s safe to see.
Growth demands Strategic Discipline.
To build an enduring great organization, requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, to produce superior results, and make a distinctive impact in the world.
Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.
Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.
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NEXT BLOG – Indistractable
I’m not the only one suffering from a lack of focus or difficulty with distractions due to Coronavirus. If you’re beating yourself up for not getting more done, you’re not alone. Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, new book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life shares how rumination itself a distraction. The book is a masterpiece of ideas to help you focus. We’ll share how self-compassion is a key to being Indistractable, and other tips on how build your ability to be Indistractable.