In continuing with my reading of choice, Ed reflects on a time he was taking a road trip with friends Dick and Anne. In the middle of an argument, Dick (the driver) dings a curb which in turn blows a tire. The couple was so caught up in their arguing that they didn’t notice the tire. It wasn’t until Ed pointed out the tire and the danger it posed that they became alert. Ed uses this example to demonstrates four ideas he connects to managing:
- Our models (preconceptions built over time) of the world distort what we perceive so much that they can make it hard to see what is right in front of us.
- We don’t typically see the boundary between new information coming in from the outside and our old, established mental models- we perceive both together, as a unified experience.
- When we unknowingly get caught up in our own interpretations, we become inflexible, less able to deal with the problems at hand.
- People who work or live together have, by virtue of proximity and shared history, models of the world that are deeply intertwined with one another (Catmull 2014 ).
Dick and Anne were so distracted by their original argument, and now the additional argument of the tire, that they failed to consider safety or act accordingly in the situation. Their mental model (rationalization) was skewed as a result of the years they closely interfaced with one another.
Whether it’s in regard to business or personal life occurrences, we can identify with the four ideals listed above in some form or fashion. The dynamics are affected even further as more people are added into the equation. In a business, more individuals that have been in close proximity or in the same conditions, such as Dick and Anne, are more likely to become inflexible. They will likely become rigid in their views and resist having both an open mind and change. Similarly, organizations can become too heavily reliant on doing business as usual out of the same familiarity.
In summary, “The intertwining of many views is an unavoidable part of any culture, and unless you are careful, the conflicts that arise can keep grounds of people locked into their restrictive viewpoints even if, as is often the case, each member of the group is ordinarily open to better ideas” (Catmull 2014 ).
As leaders and entrepreneurs, it is important to keep an open mind. If a method has proven to be successful, perhaps there is no need to change it. However, this does not negate the fact that there could be a better way of doing things available. There should be constant self and overall business evaluations. This can help ensure that decisions are made for the improvement of the business rather than habitual nature.
Catmull, E., & Wallace, A. (2014). Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration: Random House.
One saying that came to my mind while reading this post, “Everyone is an expert in something.” Evaluation is important for leaders, but you have to be able to actually accept the feedback you receive in order to grow. Your post does a great job exploring this idea. Understanding where someone is coming from is a critical step to applying the information you gather from others to make a better you. Just because they way you do things might be the best way for you, it doesn’t mean it is the best way for everyone else. Your post reminded me to keep that in the back of my mind as I go about being a leader.
I like to think that I am open minded. I do agree that if a concept is working there is no need to explore other ideas. Reading your post allowed me to see new concepts when it comes operational comfort zones. I enjoyed reading your post and look forward to future blogs.
I believe being open minded and objective is a very important attribute for an entrepreneur.
This seems like a very and dynamic and comprehensive book. I appreciate that we have the opportunity to read these kinds of books for school.
I found the discussion about models particularly interesting. It made me reflect on times where I have been immediately defensive with people that have historically proven themselves to be combative and ready to argue at the drop of a dime. Our preconceived notions can sometimes spill and seep into our other relationships making us act a certain way that may not be warranted or appropriate for the certain situation. Perception is reality (or that is what I argue) I think the balance comes in when we understand, accept and honor our perceptions, but are open minded enough as you mentioned in this post to really expand the confounds of our mind to accept new information that may be directly contradictory to our other preconceived notions.
I find a lot of rigidity and inflexibility can be traced back to a lack of safety or at least thats what our feelings tell us, and some of us (myself included) have a tough time acknowledging AND accepting that feelings are NOT facts. It has been helpful for me to address my fears when I find myself being inflexible and rigid or opposed to change.
Thanks for an insightful post!
There is some real meat here in this post and I love it. My book “Loonshots” hits on the exact same ideas. When a company has a great success they may get fixated on that success and keep iterating on it. A good example of this would be Apple with the Apple I and Apple II computers. Steve Jobs just wanted to make computers bigger and faster when it came to the Apple 3. But because Jobs thought he knew best, he INSISTED that the Apple 3 have its fan removed so that it could run quieter. He refused to listen to the feedback of the engineers and thought he knew best (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_III). It is this stubbornness that made Jobs hard to work with and led to his departure from Apple. Let us learn to be more open minded!
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