Willful Blindness

Willful blindness is a term used in the law to indicate when an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable. Willful blindness extends beyond the legal realm. Margaret Heffernan has written a book that expands the context of willful blindness to include the threats and dangers we face and don’t see because we choose to not see them.

In Willful Blindness, Margaret examines the phenomenon and traces its impact on our private and working lives, and within governments and organizations. She asks, “What makes us prefer ignorance? What are we so afraid of?” Her conclusions start with our fear of being accountable for our choices.

Margaret helps us understand how willful blindness develops, and then goes on to outline some of the ways that organizations and individuals can increase their awareness and deliberateness. It’s time for us all to claim accountability for our lives so the changes we dream of can become real.

Last year, I spoke to Margaret as part of the Business Matters program. You can hear this interview below.

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Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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