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The issue with “ Blind Spots “

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says most people aren’t as open-minded as they think.
Why ?  Because of Blind Spots.
This leads to poor decision-making, struggling with change, creating new value, challenges to Innovate for Impact, etc.

People have blind spots, areas that prevent them from exploring all the options to move forward, improve outcomes, be happy, seeing things, etc. says Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates. And while it may seem obvious, hearing it from the billionaire who started one of the world’s largest hedge funds, with $150 billion in assets under management, gives the truism  weight. 

In his new book Principles: Your Guided Journal, Dalio uses his experience as a leader to unpack the consequences of overconfidence and his learnings from past errors, including a failed investment that forced him to lay off his entire staff and fall into debt. The book includes several prompts and exercises that leaders can use to reflect on their own thought patterns.

The insights below from Dalio’s new book, what we’ve learned from Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme and the recent FTX implosion, and that many enterprises struggle with meaningfully creating new value from innovation – makes the subject very relevant.

Recognize Blind – Spots

If you’re like most people, you –

  1. have no clue how other people see things
  2. aren’t good at seeking to understand what they are thinking

This is because you’re too preoccupied with telling your story or what you think is correct. In other words, you are closed-minded; you presume too much. This closed-mindedness is costly, causes you to miss out on opportunities and possibilities, avoid dangers or threats that other people can point out to you, block criticism that could be constructive and in your own best interest, etc. As you see, there are severe consequences for not getting past blind spots !

As a result of these two barriers, people in disagreements typically remain convinced that they’re right—and often end up angry at each other. This is illogical and frequently leads to poor decision-making, awkward situations, frustration, a spiral downwards, etc.

This failure to benefit from others’ thinking doesn’t just occur when disagreements arise; it occurs when people encounter problems that they are trying to solve or how to meaningfully improve outcomes from innovation, etc. When trying to figure things out, most people spin in their own heads instead of taking in all the other thinking available. As a result, they continually run toward what they see and keep crashing into what they are blind to until the crashing becomes painful and leads them to adapt.

Want to better understand your blind spots and how to recognize them in others ?  Would you like to learn how to get past blind spot barriers ?

You can by –

Practice Radical Open – Mindedness

If you are actually blind (ie: physically), you can figure out a way to visualize where to go, better appreciate things, etc. Whereas if you don’t know you’re blind (ie: mentally), the tendency is to continue bumping into things, re-visit problems, etc.

In other words, if you can recognize that you have blind spots and open-mindedly re-imagine the situation, apply different thinking, or leverage the insights of others – you fast track exploring the options for better outcomes, reduce issues / risks, better recognize the threats and opportunities, etc. Because of this you are more likely to make good decisions and significantly improve the probability of achieving the desired outcomes.

Understand Your and Others’ Mental Maps  +  Be Humble

Some people are good at knowing what to do, assessing situations, etc. since they have good mental maps. This occurs because of the way they think, their motivation to achieve goals, having a large dose of common sense, being taught, etc. As a result, they have more insight and better answers than others do.

Similarly, some people are more humble and open-minded than others. Humility is as valuable as having good mental maps + the ability to effectively collaborate with others since this leads you to seek out better answers than you could come up with on your own. Having both open-mindedness and good mental maps is most powerful of all.

For more insights on developing and leveraging these qualities to achieve success (personally and professionally), and have innovation meaning create new value – read the book and view the other innovation articles on the CAIL website and from many other sources.

Nov 18, 2022     –     CAIL Innovation commentary