Exposing leadership blind spots through disruptive peers

Leadership blind spots are deadly.

Business graveyards are filled with examples of organizations destroyed by their leadership blind spots, like Blockbuster, Nokia, and Kodak, to name a few.

Leadership blind spots are the cognitive biases and self-deceptions that create prejudice in favor of, or against one thing. I believe the speed of innovation and the levels of disruption surrounding us, is a direct result of the minimization of blind spots through diversity. It is crazy for any leader to think they can compete in a global world being surrounded by people like themselves.

How many leadership blind spots are you creating or shedding light on? What types of people do you surround yourself with? How is your leadership thinking being challenged or is your thinking being accepted?

Leadership blind spots are deadly. Business graveyards are filled with examples of organizations destroyed by their blind spots, like Blockbuster, Nokia, and Kodak, to name a few. Leadership blind spots in leadership are the cognitive biases and self-deceptions that create prejudice in favor of, or against one thing. Blind Spots Matter in business. I believe the speed of innovation and the levels of disruption surrounding us, is a direct result of the minimization of blind spots through diversity. It is crazy for any leader to think they can compete in a global world being surrounded by people like themselves.

Why does any leader want to be surrounded by people like themselves in a professional environment? Who wants to look in the mirror and talk to themselves? Unfortunately, many people do. Thankfully, the leaders I work with don’t. They crave diversity of thought and perspectives. Harvard Business Review recently published research on correlations between CEO diversity and performance The Diverse CEO.

I Chair two Vistage peer advisory boards, one for CEOs, and the other for Trusted Advisors to CEOs. One of our core values is exposing blind spots. While there is some success in only accepting life-long learners, and in our process, the most effective means for exposing blind spots is diversity. My groups are not anywhere close to the level of diversity we strive to attain, yet diversity is always top of mind.

There is a trend among my community in Charleston for women only groups. Women only mastermind groups, women business leader groups, and women hatch tribes. Even the Charleston Harbor incubator’s newest cohort is woman only. What may be even more disturbing are business organizations that only hire women. Have we not learned anything from our past?

Yes, gender is only one factor of numerous ways to embrace diversity. Yet, I believe when we exclude even one factor, we fuel the cognitive biases already inherent, and set the stage for creating even larger blind spots. It is hard enough to compete without handicapping ourselves further. I challenge all leaders to seek out your disruptor peers.

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