Leadership Blind Spots by Karen Blakeley

She saved the best for last, the last quote provides a good run-through to take you through your company and evaluating its current state. As for personal blind spots, the unstated algorithm seems one of noticing when things go badly and then trying to determine a way to avoid it in the future.

However, that presumes we can survive the error.

Our goals, values, self esteem needs an dneed for psychological comfort affect all four learning processes. They affect:
  1. What we pay attention to.
  2. How we respond emotionally to events.
  3. How we make sense of events.
  4. How we act.
  5. Chapter 2, Summary
Most people are what philosophers call "naive realists": they believe what tey see is, that some things re just plain True -- and that they know what they are. Instead, we stress that human perceptions and knowledge are limited, that we operate from the basis of mental models, that we can never place our mental models on a solid foundation of Truth because a model is a simplification, an abstraction, a selection, because our models are inevitably incomplete, incorrect -- wrong.
John D Sterman, Chapter 3, The Consequences of Leaders' Blind Spots
Having acknowledged the significance of leaders' learning, it is probably true to say that it is even more difficult for leaders to learn than the rest of us. This is because: Leaders are paid to know the answer
Leaders have been highly successful
Leaders' mistakes are hightly visible
Leaders are often surrounded by people wary of challenging their views.
Leaders are often alone and have little opportunity to discuss their concerns.
Leaders are measured by results
Leaders have a lot to lose if they take risks
Leaders have to believe they are right
Chapter 3, The Consequences of Leaders' Blind Spots
The only relevant learning in a company is the learning done by those people who have the power to act.
Arie de Geus, Chapter 4, Learning to lead, Leading to learn
... four kinds of listening.
downloading, when we listen by evaluating and judging from within our own story (or from within our own living knowledge). we listen for what resonates with our own living knowledge and fail to hear what does not... This is the opposite of learning.
debating. This is when we listen and try to judge the objective 'correctness' or coherence of what is being said -- either by others or by ourselves.
reflective dialogue. We no longer assume that we are stating truth, but recognize that we are sharing our own limited, but personally 'true', living knowledge. We also listen for the background story that is generating the contributions that others are making.
generative dialogue. Essentially, instead of simply listening for the individual truths inherent in each person's living knowledge, you also listen from the vantage point of the whose system, sensing what it requires of everyone.
Chapter 6, The Second Practice -- Harness Emotions
Test your knowledge of your company:
Clients - knowing individual customers' strategies, needs, issues, and concerns
Strategy - your strategy and how that relates to environmental trends
Competitors - individual strategies and positioning
Commercial - current opportunities, risks, deals
Suppliers - their issues, monitoring the relationship
Global - socio, political and economic trends
Environment - trends, stakeholder demands / actions, internal policies
Social Responsibility - role in society and world
Power - who has it, how to increase it, how is it being used
Staff - individual needs / motivations, people's strategies
Climate - the mood in your organization and how to improve it
Leadership - defining, spotting, developing and rewarding
Relationships - monitoring, extending, improving
Self - your goals, hopes, strengths, development needs, how you are perceived by others
Organizational Structure - latest practice, what's working, what's not, what are you doing, what do staff want?
Marketing - best practices, working/not working, views of marketing staff?
Processes - best practices, working/not working, monitoring, how are you gathering info?
HR - best practices, working/not working, HR views
Culture - best practices, working/not working
Governance and ethics - best practices, working / not working, who's watching this?
Goals and measures - what do you pay attention to?
Technology - best practices, working/not working, IT's views?
Stockmarket - market's view?
Accounting - what processes support decision-making, are they adequate? staff's views?
Chapter 12, The Exercises