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No BS Coaching Advice

The Beige Haze |

Look around your office. What do you see? Who do you see?


When I look online and I look at my friends and their friends, most are pretty much in agreement on everything. I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. I coach people and organizations to be more effective. When I look at that behavior, it leaves me wondering. Part of the stimulation or the stimulus for this particular video comes from a podcast I was listening to with Reid Hoffman, where he was interviewing someone and the conversation was about diversity. He used a phrase that I thought was wonderful . . . the beige haze of conformity.
Now, clearly he was speaking about gender conformity. It could have just as well I thought applied to race, religion and any number of other variables.
But, when you think about your life and the people that you associate with, not just personally but professionally, it's very damaging to have groupthink, to have this "beige haze," to use Reid's term, that keeps you from hearing other things, other opinions, other ideas.
Why? I'll just tell you a story, in case you're not aware of it but there was once a US president named Lyndon Johnson and he surrounded himself with people who generally agreed with him. I don't want to call them sycophants because they really weren't, but they held the same opinion as him. There was no difference in their thinking. Thus, when one said something their were generally head nods, and the President wound up agreeing. The impact of this was the Vietnam War and how these individuals around the president basically told him what they believed he wanted to hear . . . I'll be kind . . . Needed to hear, but there was no disagreement. The result wound up being many years of war and eventually the loss of the presidency.
Folks, your circumstances may be less dramatic. But look around your office. Does everyone look alike? That's just not simply race, gender, sexual orientation, a whole host of other variables and does the thinking that everyone's communicating generally the same?
Another podcast I listened to was a Google podcast with Kelsey Grammer and he was talking about his current show, but everyone delighted and bringing up the fact that he produced a show called "Girlfriends" and "Girlfriends" had a half black writing room, half white writing room and the same wound up being true of the gender of the individuals there. He wanted to ensure that there were different viewpoints and different ideas contributing to the show.
You don't know what you don't know. You have blind spots that, unless you bring in different ideas, you're going to miss. Start looking differently. Start thinking differently in your hiring and encouraging people to speak up in order to ensure that you're getting different thoughts.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” and “No BS Job Search Advice.”

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