Margaret Heffernan is a career entrepreneur and student of what makes successful community. Her focus is in the business world but she explores vibrant workplace by asking questions about universal human behavior. She presents her findings in her book, “Willful Blindness” and highlights key points in the video below.
What is it that causes us humans (in the workplace and elsewhere) to ignore, ‘not see’, or ‘excuse away’ problems that need attention?
A Montana woman with no formal credentials, but with a questioning and analytical mind, notices lung health debilitation among adults in her small community. She eventually recognizes the town’s industry, vermiculite (a form of asbestos), is responsible. Her community of 15,000 actively rejects her conclusions, takes offense.
What IS ‘willful blindness’? How influential is it in our lives and choices – as individuals, as families, at the workplace, and in our civic/political activities? (According to Heffernan, eighty-five percent will recognize a problem and say nothing. This statistical average of willful blindness holds across the world in different nations.)
At about 8:30 minutes into her15 minute talk, Heffernan specifically shifts to whistle-blowers. She describes what she’s learned of whistle-blower motivations by seeking them out to speak with them. She describes situations that resulted in each becoming a whistle-blower. She quotes them, and offers these observations::
“The reason they speak up, the reason they insist on seeing, is because they care so much.”
“These are people of immense persistence, incredible patience, and an absolute determination not to be blind and not to be silent.”
Margaret Heffernan, “Willful Blindness”, TEDxDanubia Talk; 15 minutes:
My Best to All of Us -MaggieAnn