Silence Is Dangerous

Silence Is Dangerous

Studies across the world have repeatedly shown that in around 85% of businesses, people are aware that there are problems but are afraid to raise them. In her book and TED talks, Margaret Heffernan calls this ‘Willful Blindness’ – the point where we have chosen to ignore something because that seems like the easier path. Why don’t we speak up? What is it that we are afraid of? Most often, we are worried about the conflict that will result from pointing out a problem. This is a very human response, and one that we don’t just see in business – we see it in our personal lives too. In order […]

Who Are You Angry With?

Who Are You Angry With?

For many years now, I have been an avid fan and follower of Seth Godin. His books, podcast, and online courses are all excellent, but it is his daily blog that I find provides the most value. (Which is interesting in itself – he gives away his best ideas for free, every day … If you take nothing else from this article, signing up for Seth’s daily updates will make a huge difference to you and your business.) Seth considers himself first and foremost a teacher, and his main area of expertise is marketing – but his ideas are applicable to all areas of life. A recent post called ‘Irritated […]

Reaction v Response

Reaction v Response

After surviving Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl famously talked about the gap between stimulus and response. What he called “the last of the human freedoms” is our ability to choose our response to any given situation. I recently came across a variation of this idea in an interview with Harvard professor Sheila Heen, an expert on communication and negotiation. She spoke about how the key to managing difficult conversations is understanding that our reaction to what is being said does not necessarily have to dictate our response. When someone criticises us, or accuses us in some way, our first reaction is very often to defend ourselves – to point out […]

The quickest solution rarely gets to the heart of the problem

The quickest solution rarely gets to the heart of the problem

When we are confronted with a challenging situation, our first instinct is to just make it go away as quickly as possible. The tendency is to look for the quickest and simplest solution, but this may not always be the best idea. Our greatest successes usually come when we can move to what Shane Parrish calls ‘Second-Order Thinking’ – the ability to dig a bit deeper, and consider the broader implications and longer-term consequences of our decisions. There was a brilliant article in The Atlantic this week that highlights this. Alex Wagner contrasts the difference in how Starbucks and ABC dealt with their recent racism issues. [These links have more […]