本期，《财富》书评栏目250 Words的山姆•麦克纳尼将采访马克斯•巴泽曼。巴泽曼是哈佛大学肯尼迪学院（Harvard Kennedy School）公共领导力中心（Center for Public Leadership）联席主任，哈佛商学院（Harvard Business School）施特劳斯教席教授，曾出版过多部作品。他的新书《警觉的力量：最优秀的领导人会看到什么？》（The Power of Noticing: What The Best Leaders See）探讨了如何通过一些侦探工作，做出最佳商业决策。
麦克纳尼：最近出版的另外一本书《思考，快与慢》（Thinking, Fast and Slow）中，丹尼尔•卡尼曼谈到了一种比较棘手的倾向，即人们只会考虑显而易见的信息。他还用一个缩写来代表这种情形：WYSIATI，意思是“眼见即为事实(What You See Is All There Is)”。而你却写道“眼见不见得是事实。”我们疏于考虑唾手可得的额外信息。这种情况能改变吗？
For this installment, 250 Words’ Sam McNerney sits down with Max Bazerman. Bazerman is the co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Straus Professor at the Harvard Business School, and the author of numerous books. His latest, The Power of Noticing: What The Best Leaders See, explores how to make the best business decisions by deploying a little corporate detective work.
Sam talks to Bazerman about arch corporate villains Bernie Madoff and Jeffrey Skilling, what we can learn from magicians, and what it takes to be a “first-class noticer.”
McNerney: In another recent book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman talks about our intractable tendency to only consider readily apparent information. He even has an acronym for it: WYSIATI, or What You See Is All There Is. You write that “what you see is not all there is.” We fail to consider additional information, even when it’s available. Is there hope for us?
Bazerman: Danny Kahneman and I do not disagree here. His wonderful book argues that humans act as if what they see is all there is, and there is amazing evidence supportive of this position. The Power of Noticing focuses on the benefits of seeking additional information. First-class noticers differ from most of us in that they move beyond the limitations that Danny so accurately describes.
We can all move toward becoming what I call first-class noticers. The first step is to put it on your agenda to look around to see what information around you is important. Second, I recommend taking a break from the intense focus that is typical of successful professionals and ask what information you might be missing. Third, ask what features of your organization may be preventing employees from noticing critical information, and take steps to change the organization to reward people for noticing key threats and challenges to the organization.
And, finally, you need to do better than the hedge funds that fed money to Madoff, and the executives at Penn State, and take a closer look when something seems wrong.
Bernie Madoff. Jeffrey Skilling. There are bad guys in every industry. But you write that maybe they’re not the real problem—that instead, there are actually a lot of little, maybe unwitting nefarious decisions and innocent but silent bystanders that really do the most harm. Could you talk about how “implicit blindness” can lure good people into unethical behavior?
There will always be bad guys. In the next decade, new crooks will emerge, and philosophers and religious leaders haven’t provided too many insights on how to stop them. But psychology has unlocked a number of tools to help the rest of us do a better job of seeing and acting on the unethical behavior of others. Madoff would have been caught many years earlier if those who should have noticed had acted on what they saw. But, too often, people do not see information that would cause short-term negative effects. We do not see the limitations of the employee we hired or the possible ethical challenges of the investment that we chose.