Spotlight: Are you in an Echo Chamber?
Moments of genius. We all have them, right? let’s not be coy… we are FILLED with the most innovative & refreshing thoughts & ideas when it comes to work & working. But are your ideas feeling a little familiar?
If you work by yourself, run a company or have an intimate team… how often are you running these moments of genius by an outside source? Do you think doing so could interfere with your creativity?
Are you open to ideas or are you limiting the creativity that could come from someone who isn’t as invested in your idea?
You’d be surprised to know (I was) that we are living in an era of stifled creativity, according to a survey from Ketchum; a global communications platform. Many people in middle to senior leadership & management levels (aka us & the people immediately above us) felt of participants felt like them left out of the from other teams & ideas within their own companies, let alone within their industries.
Many respondents stated they value a diversity of thought, a whopping 72% in fact; but more than 85% aren’t actually implementing a broader viewpoint.
This will come as a surprise to no one, but this phenomenon, has a name. It’s called an Echo Chamber. They are found in nearly every workplace, peer group, essentially anywhere where people are forced to work or co-exist together.
It makes sense, we gravitate towards those who share our ideals, have similar thoughts & motivations. This can cause huge issues when you want to workshop a solution for a work based problem or look for innovations at work. Many of us are aware that we sometimes need an external voice to encourage diversity & curiosity, however, around 60% feel like that their place of work actively discourages this.
This dichotomy exposes a problem; leaders like the concept of diversity of thought a lot more than the application of it.
So how do you overcome these barriers, whether you have accidentally created one or feel as if your ideas & innovations fall on deaf ears?
Play Devil’s Advocate.
Debate is healthy & often necessary when combating an established echo chamber. Identifying areas of weakness in a plan, no matter how sound, can help you to produce a creative solution. When you participate in debate, by workshopping an idea or practice you can see where things can be improved & even find a solution or pivot without the need of duress once its live. If you work in a small team, try presenting to a different another, external team; they could help you gain a fresh perspective.
Listen & Ask Questions
This sounds simple, but so many do not practice it.
People with good listening skills are often more productive, are better problem solvers, which allows them to have healthier workplace relationships.
When you listen, it helps you to hear the problem that could be at hand & you are able to react to it. There’s a reason why you know the saying “two minds are better than one” is part of our lexicon. When you actively listen, you encourage collaboration, making sure ideas can run their course effectively.
Build a Diverse Team (if you are able to).
We all understand the want o avoid conflict when building or working in a team. But if you plan to build a team of people who are of a similar background, have shared ideals & experiences you are creating a ready form echo chamber. If you want to hear new, fresh perspectives, it would work well to consider people who compliment on another, through the share different experiences.
When you understand your team & how you work, you are able to design & influence your team’s strengths.
These are just a few things that help to ensure your working environment is a place of diverse, innovative thought, without the fear of being chastised, disciplined or worse.
How have you overcome your personal or professional echo chamber?