OK: I fixed my issue with YouTube! You can either watch the video or read the article.

The Cold, Hard Truth

A lot of times we suffer from something called “frozen thinking.” This is when we have such a long and deeply held belief in something that we no longer question it. And that’s compounded by unconscious bias. Our brains are constantly looking for information that supports our beliefs, and discounting things that don’t.

The problem with this is that it limits our imaginations. We can’t admit the possibility of considering or doing something differently than we have in the past. Then we and our teams get stuck a pattern with no new options—and wonder why the same issues keep popping up.

What can we do about this?

Changing Our Vision

About 50 years ago, a man studying group psychology, named Serge Moscovici, designed an experiment. He pulled together a bunch of people and showed them slides with hues between blue and green. Then he asked them to shout out what color they saw.

The control group did just that.

The second group was laced with actors that Moscovici had asked to call out the wrong color: when blue appeared, they’d shout “green.” However, the other people would quickly disagree, and the consensus would rule: “No, it’s blue!” and they would stick with that.

This was just the first part of the experiment. Then he separated people and had them take the same test individually: categorizing whether a color was blue or green.

In the control group, the individuals named the colors in the same way they had when they were together.

Here’s the interesting part. The people who had the “green” callers in their group more often rated blue images as green. (What’s more frozen in your head than colors you’ve known since childhood?) That meant they were unconsciously influenced by those who had other ideas.

Widening Your View

What does this mean for us?

When we’re exposed to people who have opinions that differ from ours, we’re still influenced by them! This can stop our frozen thinking and make us consider other options.

Those people in your brainstorming sessions who call out the oddball ideas: they’re a gift to your team. People with different backgrounds can widen our thinking and actions—even when we’re not aware of it.

This week seek out people with different ideas. The goal is not to have you change their minds, or them change yours. It’s just to be exposed to another viewpoint, so you can widen your own perspective.

Thaw out your frozen thinking and engage in more possibilities. Invite diversity into your own head.