We increasingly live in a black and white world. I’m not referring to skin color or fashion but rather the perspective of our thinking.
I am a student of the way we think. For example, I pay attention to political discourse from a meta perspective. Rather than get wrapped up in the discourse it’s more interesting to observe the limitations in thinking for those participating in the argument. From either side. I look for bias and blind spots.
Police shootings and riots, abortion, minimum wage, gay rights, gun laws, pay equity for women, the list of complex issues is endless.
It’s simple to form a quick opinion on these issues. How do we do that? Our visceral reaction to these issues comes from our belief system. We have to have a belief system.
The question I think we should consider is: How rigid are our beliefs?
Can our beliefs change and evolve?
It’s hard. We vest ourselves in our beliefs. What happens if I change sides? It’s a bit scary. I was taught to think a certain way by my parents and others early in my life. Can I unravel that teaching reinforced over a lifetime?
Think about a statement I frequently use with executives:
“We think in black and white. The opportunity however is in the grey.”
A simple example. Let’s say we’re faced with a choice to expand into a new market with our product.
BLACK – Yes, we can grow revenue.
WHITE – No, it will be very costly to start-up: hiring sales people, etc.
GREY – Test the new market by working through strategic partners to offer our product.
Another example. We need training.
BLACK – No training. It’s too expensive.
WHITE – Invest and take funds from some other area.
GREY – Take advantage of technology and accomplish more effective training for much less cost. (Shameless plug for our approach with the NLN Hub)
You get the idea.
To Do This Week: Observe your interactions. Are you aware of the valuable grey areas?
Let me know how it’s going. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.