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The Blind Side

Every human being has blind spots and every company does, too.  Knowledge openness can enhance businesses and relationships while knowledge blindness can make things unnecessarily more difficult.  In other words, what we don’t know can hurt us.

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The military refers to this as “the fog of war” the premise of this activity, therefore, is to disclose and discover unknown information that can impact organizational and group success in any area of the company – Management, planning, team performance, and so forth.

The purpose is to identify problems regarding the requirements of the planned change that need to be communicated upwards as priority issues.

  • Draw a large scale profile of a persona and draw four arrows coming out the top of the head. Label those arrows “Know/Know,” “Know/Don’t Know”, “Don’t Know/Know,” and “Don’t Know/Don’t Know”.
  • Give participants access to sticky notes and markers and tell them that the purpose of this activity is to try and make explicit the knowledge they have, and the knowledge they don’t have but could use.
  • Start with the Know/Know category. Elicit from the group all information about the topic problems regarding the requirements of the planned change that should be priority issues for senior management that they know they know. This category should go quickly and should generate a lot of content. Ask the players to write one bit of knowledge per sticky note and cluster them near the arrow pertaining to that category.
  • Next tackle Know/Don’t Know. This category will go less quickly than the first but should still generate plenty of content. Again, ask them to cluster the sticky notes near the related arrow.
  • Move to Don’t Know/Know. This information could be skills people have that are currently not used to solve problems or untapped resources that have been forgotten.
  • Last, move to Don’t Know/Don’t Know. The group will be stopped her, possibly indefinitely. This category is where discovery and shared exploration take place. Ask the players provocative questions: How can you find out what you don’t know you don’t know? If you knew what your team doesn’t know it doesn’t know what ideas would you have regarding the requirements and priorities for the planned change?
  • Ask the group what they can do to proactively address the distinct challenges of each category. What are you assuming that is limiting your thinking here? Is the assumption true? What is a liberating true alternative to the limiting assumption? If you knew (insert true alternative), what would you think or do?

Discuss insights and aha’s.  Even if the participants only revelation is that they have blind spots, that in itself can be a fruitful discovery.


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