More on Inattentional Blindness

Last blog I provided some great content from Mike House on inattentional blindness. He has expanded on some of the information and I have found it so useful that I have included it in this blog with Mike’s permission.

Inattentional blindness is all about having a flawed perception. In the physical environment it can cost someone their life, in the workplace it can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunication and missed opportunities. Of course I work in the space of misbehaviours and managers who have a responsibility to be on the alert for what is happening with their staff.

Here is a fantastic list of ideas that can help managers in this role-

The Acknowledgment – Acknowledging your flawed perception is liberating and informative. It brings the elephant in the room into plain sight. Once you have acknowledged that there will be flaws in your perception, you become more open to spotting them, more conscious of seeking additional data when needed, less stressed, and more tolerant when you encounter the flaws of others. You may even find some of your flaws amusing.

The Checklist – Pilots have long known the wisdom of the checklist for ensuring that critical safety steps are covered. Developing a checklist for critical areas in your environment makes good sense. Once a checklist is built, use it in the same way every time you approach that particular scenario. If you use the checklist often, establish rituals and routines that ensure that you are actually following the process, rather than just paying it lip service.

The Scan – When you are in situations that demand high levels of attention and focus, make a point of occasionally and deliberately scanning the environment widely. Deliberately look for information and evidence that challenges your assumptions. A great example of this is the share trader who looks at a chart upside down to see if he would feel as convinced of a down trend as he is of an up trend.

The Team – Deliberately seek information sources that disagree with your views, people that see the world in different ways, colleagues who have different backgrounds and skill sets, friends from different cultures, books on topics that you have never read. The wider you cast your net, the less likely you will fall into perception traps. When you do, others will compensate for your blind spots and you for theirs.

In my one day workshop for managers I provide checklists and templates for them to build these ideas into systems. For more information on the one day manager workshop contact EEO Specialists