Blinded by Your Own Thinking


The tragedy is – all of us are blinded by our own thinking! Unfortunately, there are multiple psychological factors that contribute to our impaired vision. For example, personality styles that only want to see things one way and, worse, may not care what other people think. There are a host of variables associated with self-esteem and self-confidence that impact our vision but are too numerous to discuss in this article.

Let’s illustrate the problems caused by our thinking. Look at the picture. What do you see – an old woman or a young woman? Perhaps you see an abstraction without seeing a face.

Some of you may have seen this artwork and know that by shifting your vision a picture of a young and old woman emerges. The point is you will only see one picture at a time.

The picture illustrates a leadership lesson explained by the proverb, a made up mind loses its objectivity.

Exemplary leaders/supervisors understand the pitfalls of a made up mind and the following list is not inclusive:

  1. The wrong decision may be made.
  2. The “know it all” leader/supervisor is not well liked.
  3. The “know it all” leader/supervisor stifles the creative thinking offered by others that may result in the best decision for the dealership. So the dealership takes a hit.
  4. Employee morale and engagement take a BIG hit.

Mental Blueprint

Please mentally circle your answer to the following questions:

  1. Do you want to be the person that is open-minded to consider all perspectives of an issue? Yes/No
  2. Do you want to be the person who encourages people to think so that the best decision can be made for the dealership? Yes/No

My guess is that you circled “yes.” So, the following is a mental flowchart that you can use to be more open minded.


Before engaging in a discussion on any topic, you have to be psychologically aware of your propensity to want to be right. Leadership gurus tell us that psychological self-awareness of our strenghths and weaknesses is such a difficult challenge that most of us ignore this process. If so, being closed minded is a terrible psychological disease. I can’t over emphasize this first step. Failing this step can lead to being closed minded!


Once being aware, you have to make several good choices and they are listed as you continue reading.

Keep Quiet

Begin by keeping your opinions to yourself.

Ask Questions

Encourage others to offer their opinions/suggestions. When you want to insert your opinion, you can do so via a question — What do you think would happen if…?

Active Listening

Ask additional questions to fully understand the opinion offered by others.


Encourage debate of the ratio of advantages/disadvantages of the different ideas offered to ensure the best idea is adopted for the success of the dealership. Have the default position — you want the best idea regardless of the origin of that idea.


Ask the final question — What do you think needs to be done? When at all possible use the offered input. Liz Wiseman author of the Multiplier suggests using the 51% rule in which the members of the discussion team make the final decision instead of the team’s leader.

As with any habit, becoming proficient at being open-minded takes practice and there are multiple opportunities to do so during the course of every day!

Article Written by Dr. Larry Cole

Larry Cole, Ph.D., is a lead trainer for and consultant to the North American Equipment Dealers Association’s Dealer Institute. He provides onsite training and public courses to improve business leadership effectiveness and internal and external customer service. Please send questions and / or comments to Larry at


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