Thursday, September 4, 2014

#825 blind side

One final thought on the Ice Bucket Challenge.  As I have written over the past two days, it has brought an amazing amount of recognition and donations to the ALS Association.  I am sure that when the organizers came up with the idea, they had the best of intentions to raise funds for their friend, and it has done just that.

It also has stirred up a fair amount of controversy.  The Ice Bucket Challenge was under the radar for the first few millions, but once the amount began to soar, the concept moved into the public eye.  And there is never unanimity with the masses.

Protests have arisen because it is such a waste of water in an era when the sole purpose of several organizations is to bring clean water to those without it.  Bishops have weighed in against participation due to the embryonic stem cell research involved.  Some Catholic schools have chosen not to participate or to carefully direct their donations to limited aspects of the Association's work.  As with so many things, there is always a down side to what initially appears to be a great idea.

The idea of having a blind side relates to a concept shared in Thanks for the Feedback*.  Authors Stone and Heen** write that all of us have behavioral blind spots where a gap occurs between our thoughts and feelings and others' stories about us. 

Their Gap Map:
My thoughts & feelings >lead to> My intentions >lead to> My behavior >lead to> My impacts on them >lead to> Their story about me <leads back to< Their feedback to me

Often there is a gap between how we see ourselves and how others see us.  Thanks for the Feedback offers theories on how this occurs and how we can invite others to enlighten us, but the phenomenon they describe is the same as what I suspect happened with the Ice Bucket.  Good intentions by one are perceived differently by others.

Whether you are designing a fund raiser or just want to become more aware of how you are coming across, soliciting honest feedback from others is a good start.  It may feel like someone is throwing a cold blanket on you, but it is better than being blind sided in the end.

-- beth triplett

*Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, 2014

**See Blog #818, August 28, 2014

Thanks to Wendy for the observations.

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