There are three types of blind spots we come across all of the time. They impact us, our clients, and our colleagues. They show up in our personal and professional lives. Blind spots are a part of being human. Learning to recognize these three types of blind spots can help us turn them into building blocks.
Knowledge blind spots: the more confident we are, the more dangerous a new fact or a dose of uncertainty hiding in a blind spot becomes. We turn these into building blocks when we aim for confidence but not certainty. 90% sure means 10% unsure. By acknowledging the uncertainty we reduce the potential for a complete surprise. “The new position looks guaranteed, but in the 5% chance it falls through, what’s our next move?”
Emotional blind spots: the more emotionally charged a thought, decision, or experience is, the more biased we are by our emotional state. We turn these into building blocks when we recognize the emotional state, label it for what it is, and look for additional objective observations we may be missing. “Yes this decision has made you very happy/sad today, but let’s consider what this means in three years.”
Behavioral blind spots: it’s very hard to interpret our actions or behaviors in real-time. We turn these into building blocks by using hindsight and foresight to prepare or analyze for next time we face something similar. “This type of chaos tends to shut down our ability to make a decision, so if we encounter it in today’s meeting we’re going to look for this data point and temporarily ignore everything else.”
Being aware that these blind spots exist is half of the battle. Especially when advising clients, these are the nuances that help a person gain a broader perspective. Our goal is not to just negatively label a blind spot but to help them shine a flashlight on it and bring their knowledge, emotions, and behaviors back into line with what they’re trying to achieve.
Turning blind spots into building blocks is a surefire way to create value and differentiate ourselves where it matters most – in our client’s minds. Holistically, it also ensures that we are helping them to take the right steps for the right reasons, not just out of some underlying bias that may be working against them.
Flashlights out and turned on. There’s work to be done.
h/t to Tasha Eurich’s book, “Insight” for inspiring this post. If you’re interested in organizational psychology, this is an excellent read.