Actually, it's all entreptreneurs. But now I got your attention.
There were so many buzz words born in this current political climate, but the most important phrase that has come across my news feed and created the most productive conversations at home and work is this: Echo Chamber.
Wikipedia: "In news media, the term echo chamber is analogous with an acoustic echo chamber, where sounds reverberate in a hollow enclosure. An echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a defined system. Inside a figurative echo chamber, official sources often go unquestioned and different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented."
Millennial entrepreneurs learned the concept of Echo Chamber much earlier than previous generations, but while creating cultures and environments that they themselves love to work in, some senior associates may consider those same amenities as "costly distractions".
Each generation minimizes the voice of the other. It's easy to spot someone else's echo chamber. Companies are struggling to build teams with a wide age gap. But it goes both ways. ALL entrepreneurs and founders, Millennial, GenX, or Boomer need to see 360 degrees and better understand how they are impacting the company culture for the whole team. Whole. Team. On their own, they cannot.
As one client said to me: "I love working with like-minded people! We get more done!" I hear you. Sometimes that's true. We all want to build our businesses with people like us at some level; people we want to keep pace with and achieve our goals together. Tribe.
I mean, if every one could only be like me, the world would be a better place! (You laugh, but listen around today and you will find this to be true.)
Founders today want to enjoy drinks or activities with the same people they solve world problems with during the day. But obviously, you can't get a long with everyone. So who are you leaving out?
How do you create a culture that doesn't exclude different voices? Can you tell if a voice is not in alignment with your vision, and one that approaches your vision differently?
If you only keep people around you who think and work like you do, you are developing the very chambers you detest. A perfect echo chamber of false security. This is incredibly dangerous for your company and relationships.
How do you spot when your preferences are creating the very echo chamber you try to keep out of?
I remember meeting a client in their 20s who upon me mentioning blind spot exploration, clammed up immediately and stared at me like a deer in headlights. The concept of blindspot instantly made them think they were about to discover they were doing it all wrong, or people didn't like them. Totally normal reaction if the voice in your head is telling you "Feedback sucks". Feedback is just data. Data. It's not necessarily true or correct. When your inside conversation creates space for feedback, you will avoid it less.
Your blindspot is not something to be feared. Unless you keep telling yourself you explored that already. Then it becomes the most dangerous chapter of your story. Just ask the Titanic.
If you are telling yourself you already know your blindspot, you are missing the point. Your blindspot isn't a place. It's a constant conversation. The danger of living like you have no blindspot, or living like you KNOW it already, is that you are missing the dialogue that needs to occur within that space ALL THE TIME. To connect. To create. To change the world.
Your blindspot is a space for intimate relationship.
Two years ago I was asked in an entrepreneurial group for coaches to challenge my cultural blindspot by committing to following new people of different race, belief, gender and orientation. I had always attracted predominately white male clients - averaging up to 70%. This year I am proud to say I have been affected by this exercise in amazing ways. My roster is diverse. I have five different races and nationalities, many of differing orientation, varying spiritual walks, ages from 22 to 64, and am now working with 65% millennial women. I have never enjoyed team building and coaching more.
Do you get the importance of this? If you do, here are a few tips for exploring your blindspot even further:
Let go of your fear of Feedback. Ask three different people in your life the following questions:When you see me limiting myself, what do you notice? When you see me at my best, what do you notice? Anything else you want to tell me?
Examine your echo chamber. Share your social newsfeed with someone you work with, or someone close to you. To stretch, ask someone with differing views. Discuss your personal echo chambers. For a shortcut, go to your twitter account right now and see who the people you follow are actually following - add some different voices to your newsfeed. Then clean house if you need to.
Read more. Try crowdsourcing for book and movie recommendations. You may be surprised at what people recommend off-list.
Lastly Invest in yourself. Capture your full 34 talent themes in Gallup's onlineStrengthsfinder test and hire a strengths coach to help you explore without judgment.
For a free consultation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org