The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns -- like conflict avoidance and selective blindness -- that lead managers and organizations astray.
How do organizations think? In her book, Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious -- with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Heffernan’s third book, Willful Blindness was shortlisted for the Financial Times/GoldmanSachs Best Business Book award in 2011.
Margaret Heffernan began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association, IPPA. In the United States, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business and was named one of the Internet's Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999.
In addition to writing books, Heffernan blogs for the Huffington Post and BNET.com and is a Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston and the Executive in Residence at Babson College.
"So how can we combat willful blindness? Heffernan believes that we need a system of incentives that values vigilance and oversight as much as we value the bottom line."The Current, on CBC Radio
“[For constructive conflict,] we have to resist the neurobiological drive which means that we really prefer people mostly like ourselves.”
“A fantastic model of collaboration: thinking partners who aren't echo chambers.”
“The truth won't set us free — until we develop the skills and the habit and the talent and the moral courage to use it.”
“The biggest catastrophes that we've witnessed rarely come from information that is secret or hidden. It comes from information that is freely available and out there, but that we are willfully blind to.”
“If we aren't going to be afraid of conflict, we have to see it as thinking.”