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Leading Ideas: You’re Staring at Your Blind Spots

“I don’t know who discovered water, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.” — Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) Media critic & writer

Something to consider:

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Just like a fish can’t see the water it’s swimming in, you can’t see the world immediately in front of you. It takes someone with a different perspective to point it out. These people can see opportunities that you can’t see. They can see pitfalls that you can’ t see. They can see them, ironically, because they aren’t staring at them every day.

Recently a colleague of mine was hired by a real estate firm to help them transform their organization. One of the things that made her so attractive was that she DIDN’T have a real estate background. She had a background in transforming schools. As a result, she wasn’t blinded by an insider’s perspective about how the real estate industry should work. Rather, she brought an outsider’s perspective of how it needed to work in order to survive.

Something to try:

1. Sit down with a sharp person from another industry.
2. Describe the details of a project you’re working on (include your challenges).
3. Ask them to point out opportunities you might be missing.
4. Switch it up and do the same thing for them.
5. Recognize that someone else can often see the opportunities/challenges in front of you a lot easier than you can.

Question: How do you uncover your blind spots?

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