Jodie found a memory that brought back one of her significant learning experiences from college. Like the author of the memory, she had used the experience frequently in her career.
I remember one day in class, one of my classmates asked you: “Can people really be this dumb?” We were discussing a situation where we were to suggest improvements. You responded by saying that you were waiting for someone to ask you that question.
Then you told us about the concept of action blindness. That’s when we let action replace thought. You told us that our society favors action over thought and that’s why you see people doing dumb things. Action without connection to thought is simply wasted action.
Later in the semester, you had us design a production system to make a mosaic. To do that we needed to lay out a pattern, cut glass, and glue it into place on a board. These were simple activities that were often taught in summer camps for high school students.
We got to work, but before we started, you asked someone in each group to capture a video of what we did.
In the next class, you showed us how to use the Japanese concept of Muda. Then you asked us to identify the places in our video where these seven types of waste occurred in our production of the mosaic. We were embarrassed by what we saw. Toward the end of class, you asked us why we were so dumb. The entire class shouted out: “action blindness”.
I’ve used that concept of action blindness in my organization. In fact, I’ve been asked to share that concept with our corporate leaders. I never would have imagined that I would be speaking to our leadership when I am just 25 years old.
Thanks so much for making me visible.
Shonda – Class of 2019