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Pretty much all the important roles in an organization fall for confirmation bias, that is *I know-it-all* bias, and ‘this-is-how-it-works’ bias.
For example, if you have had a very successful run with the launch of a product, the chances are that you will be 100% confident that the next product launch will be super hits (in fact much better than the previous ones).
Why? Because you know how-it-works. How the system works. You know the taste of the audience. You know how to do PR. You know how to create the right noise.
Well, at least you think so.
By the way, remember Nokia? Blackberry? Ouch…. Let’s move on.
How does one stay open to new ideas, then?
Practically speaking, most successful managers/leaders end up surrounding themselves with yes-(wo)men and that just adds very significantly to the *I-am-inevitable* syndrome.
How can one break free from this?
The simplest way to keep learning new ideas is to surround yourself with people who are talking and implementing new ideas.
Where do you find them? Outside your comfort zone. Outside your office. Outside your current network.
What does that mean? How do I figure this out?
UnStage Yourself !
Learn to be in the audience (and not just the speaker).
What do I mean? After a point, most *accomplished* professionals stop attending any event/meetup/workshops (online or offline) as an audience.
Either I am invited as a speaker. Or I am too busy to attend events.– 99.99% of senior leaders
If you are always the smartest person in the room (i.e. talking and dispersing gyaan), you are definitely not learning. Some of the amazing leaders I know are often attending random Clubhouse events to Zoom webinars to learn and get more perspective from others.
Learn to be an audience. And a great one at it. The first step towards being curious is to become a true learner.
Set yourself up for failure (outside work.. to start with) !
Of course, I won’t recommend trying out this in your core job – but try to set yourself up for failure outside your work.
For instance, start writing if you aren’t doing so. It not only improves your clarity and gets better at work (read: Why Product managers should write). But if writing is not your thing, start a TikTok channel or a podcast or whatever – that keeps you in front of an audience and opens yourself to be judged (and laughed upon).
Congratulations on swallowing up all your ego and pride 🙂
If you want to improve, you must be content to be thought foolish and stupid.Epictetus
Mingle with Younger Colleagues
Seriously. All the great disruption is happening there.
Plus, culturally, one needs to be a lot more aware of the new new world, and the only way to do is to become good friends with your younger colleagues.
The new jargons/lingos to how they consume products/think of new tech – all of that is a mini-crash course in itself!
“You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way.”Marvin Minsky
Last, but not the least.
Up-skill yourself. Everyday. Find an app, a group, what’er works for you – but have a dedicated time to unlearn.
For instance, if you believe that email marketing always works – start leanirng messenger marketing or podcast marketing – a new skill will change your entire perspective on how much is there to the world than your own knowledge/skill (plug: this is one of the core reasons why I am working on FWD app, but more on that later).
Happy Learning !