There is a lot of talk these days about Fake News. In other words, reading information that is based on bias perspective or information. If the perspective or information provided differs from your own, you have two choices - Dismiss it because it does not match your beliefs; or attempt to assess if there is value in understanding it.
Note the word understanding. It is vastly different than agreeing. People confuse the two. You can attempt to understand a perspective and still not agree with it. I am not going to get into politics on this topic, but rather challenge you to take this concept of understanding vs. agreeing and apply it to everyday business. If as a business leader, you are not challenging yourself to understand different options or perspectives, then are you making a truly informed decision? To say there is no need to hear alternate perspectives would mean you are the world expert on that matter, know every possible detail and could produce the perfect solution. Technology can be manipulating or manipulated to accentuate this point. If you let technology drive your consumption of information, then you leave yourself open to constant bias perspectives or information. Only getting information from the same frequently visited websites, means you only get a narrow focus of perspectives. This tends to reinforce the beliefs you already have and makes you more confident in your views. This leads to blind spots and the potential to be sideswiped by something you never thought could happen. You can manipulate technology to help prevent myopic thinking. At your fingertips you have access to an incredible amount of information presented in ways that will challenge how you think. This can be uncomfortable; it requires you to admit to yourself you may not be the “world expert” you thought you were. It exposes you to choices and options you may not have considered. This results in more informed decision making. Perhaps the same decision had you not researched alternative perspectives. But when you are sideswiped by a problem down the road, this time you are likely going to think “I should have seen that coming”. It is not just alternate perspectives you should expose yourself to, but also completely different industries and sectors. If you are in the industrial widget manufacturing business, try to spend time understanding where trends are headed in the textile industry, or the food processing business. Forcing your brain to stretch and grow teaches it to more easily understand new concepts and ideas, something that will benefit you when you are trying to re-engineer a new widget press and are stuck on a logical problem. The more flexible you are in your thinking, the more creative you can be in finding solutions to problems. So when you are faced with your next business issue, take a moment to think about where you are getting your information. If everywhere you look, you get the same info or people agreeing with you, challenge yourself. Ask others for input, gather data from alternate sources and be open to understanding alternate perspectives. Use technology to help expand your thinking and knowledge, don’t use it to build a bigger shield around your own ideas.