The Enemy of Openness by Mark Taylor at TEDxTimesSquare


Key Points:

  • There is an enemy bouncing in our heads. It’s the enemy of openness “We think we’re open, but we’re not.”
  •  Openness is the grand illusion.
  • Social psychologists tell us the brain is wired for self-justification.
    • Biologists say that we cannot tell a perception from hallucination.
    • The only way we know that we’re not delusional is through feedback But here is the catch— with just two people, we still don’t know.  I see black and you see white—who is right?

When we have a dyadic relationship, perception is inherently unstable; especially when we disagree or have a difference of opinion.

We get stuck. We argue. We get defensive.

One person is right and the other wrong. The idea is good or bad.  Notice that we like people who agree with us and dislike those who don’t.

But openness is being able to listen when we don’t agree. How can we overcome this biological blindness?

The answer is the Power of Triads—two vs three.

A 12 year study of 24,000 people concluded 76% of work relationships are ineffective. (Tribal Leadership 2008)

That’s 3 out of 4 people who are being challenged at work – by dyadic relationships. What’s interesting is that the other 24% had a 3-5 times increase in productivity, less stress, & more fun. They also had one unique characteristic. They did not meet in dyads.” They met in groups of three. They used the power of triads.

A sandbox with two children and one toy—what happens? They fight.  “It’s mine!” Add a third child to our sandbox and the dynamic changes. We build a sand castle together.

This is the power of Triads. Three people working together on a common project. There is a shift from mine to ours.

Triads defeat the enemy of openness; Triads pull us from being stuck in the mud of dyads.

 Triads move us and others into action.

To create a “we” takes three.

So, the next time you get stuck in a sandbox with just one other person—remember the Power of Triads.