It’s great to get your head down and really progress a piece of work. Things seem to go so well when you’re completely in your own bubble, shutting out all the noise and interference of the rest of the world. But with the bubble comes the risk of bubblethink: the space where only what’s inside counts, so there’s no challenge to ideas or logic or enthusiasm. As a result, bubblethink can too easily lead to poor judgement and decision making – we start to miss things that in other circumstances would be obvious. So when we step out of bubblethink and try to engage others, things can go quickly and dramatically wrong. We can find ourselves rejected, criticised and pilloried for being inconsiderate or just plain dumb. Worse, we might not be able to understand why – and that leaves us confused and unable to make amends or move forward.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In business, we often talk about insight – the value of being able to look within. Here, however, I want to fly the flag for outsight – actively seeking an independent, external perspective on our thinking. Smart leaders do this regularly and from an early stage in the thinking process, typically using coaches as an independent, confidential sounding board. You may not love the experience, especially if your pet project doesn’t actually stand up too well to criticism. But outsight is a gift that can save you a huge amount of grief and confusion later on. Use outsight well and it can even help you take your thinking to a clearer, stronger, more valuable place altogether.
If you’d like some help getting out of your own bubble – let’s talk.
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