Active Open Mindedness: It’s Not What You Think, but How You Think It

As a life-long Learner with a high level of curiosity, recently reading David Epstein’s book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, has been incredibly enlightening to me.

In a chapter called Fooled by Expertise, the concept of “active open mindedness” is introduced and explored. A quote from the book:

“The best forecasters view their own ideas as hypotheses in need of testing. Their aim is not to convince their teammates of their own expertise, but to encourage their teammates to help them falsify their own notions. In the sweep of humanity, that is not normal…it is not what they think (that allows them to do well), it is how they think.”

I hope you are blessed to work in an environment where this approach can be taken. How fulfilling it is to not need to always be “right”, but rather work inside of a productive collaboration to build on ideas and thinking of those around you. That is a gold standard.

About half way through Range, I selected my next book to read. It is by Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. The crux of it is the gold standard I mention above. In a nutshell, how do you build a culture and teams to support the notion of Active Open Mindedness.

As I read The Fearless Organization I am seeing a number of parallels to concepts in Range. In fact, I’m already working on a post connecting learning from both. There are a couple of chapters that if cobbled together I’m feeling like make a great recipe for developing, executing, measuring and optimizing strategy. More to come on that!

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