The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: August 2014
Duration: 7 hours 1 minutes
What if you could broaden the bounds of natural awareness? Imagine your advantage in negotiations, decision-making, and leadership if you could teach yourself to see, and judge, information others routinely fail to notice. The Power of Noticing provides the blueprint for accomplishing precisely that. Max Bazerman, a giant in the field of applied behavioral psychology, draws on three decades of research and his experience instructing Harvard Business School MBAs and corporate executives to teach you how to spy and act on information that others miss.
Drawing on a wealth of examples, the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, the rigging of Libor, J.P. Morgan Chase's infamous "London Whale" scandal to name just a sampling, Bazerman diagnoses what information went ignored, and why. Using many of the same case studies and thought experiments designed in his executive MBA classes, he challenges listeners to explore their cognitive blind spots, first experiencing their failures to notice and then unpacking the steps you can take to spy the salient details missed.
In his bestselling Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman coined the acronym WYSIATI, or "what you see is all there is," a truism of psychology. Half a dozen or more bestselling business books have all spelled out in ever greater detail how susceptible our irrational cognitive blindspots are to manipulation. Bazerman here provides a blueprint you can follow to short circuiting the habits that lead to poor decisions and ineffective leadership, including:
1) Invent the third choice. Very often we are presented with set choices to choose from. Learning to invent a choice not presented can immediately open up new strategic outcomes and leadership opportunities.
2) What you see is NOT all there is. Again and again our leaders fail to think about data that is outside their focus. From inviting unconventional attendees to a meeting to role playing different perspectives, there are ways to ask and answer, What information, were it available, would fundamentally change your conclusion?
3) Acknowledge self-interest. We all are invested in certain outcomes, but those biases can blind us to the best possible outcome. There are many ways industries, companies, and individuals can force their self-interest into focus and thereby blunt its influence on outcomes. Few are more effective than the old adage: put yourself in the other person's shoes.
4) Pay attention to what didn't happen. When applied, this skill comes close to arming you with second sight. Often it points to the blinders worn by colleagues or competitors.
5) Learn to spy misdirection, best identified by applying another old adage: if it is too good to be true, it likely is.