Episode 62: How To Escape Your Echo Chamber

Episode 62 Show Notes



What is an echo chamber?

(educause.edu blog post)

  • An echo chamber is the intellectual environment that people create to pad themselves from disagreement and to believe that their opinions are shared and correct.


11 ways to get out of your echo chamber


  • Constantly ask for feedback and ideas (Seek it, often. They won’t bring it often on their own, acknowledge and thank dissenting opinions)
  • Prioritize psychological safety (Predictable mood, the first word: “no, however, but, that won’t work and here’s why”
  • Establish meeting norms (respectful communication, no interrupting, judge favorably, engage curiosity, use I statements)
  • Model curiosity and listening (they will follow your lead)
  • “Yes, and” NOT “Yes, but” (Embrace a roundtable discussion where you and your team members say yes and
  • Speak last  You already know what you know. Lots of social norms in play if you speak first and then go around the table, Nelson Mandela’s father
  • Intentionally invite different perspectives Maintenance Director, Lower School teacher, student, Kitchen staff (not the whole meeting)
  • “Hire for addition, not multiplication” (Educause blog) Similar background, age, life experiences, race, religion, ethnicity, work experience, etc.
  • Beware of confirmation Bias
  • Get off campus. Visit schools, go to conferences, join an affinity group
  • Check your ego at the door


Big Takeaways:

  • Leaders make decisions based solely on their own past experiences and the repetition of their ideas by those within their echo chamber, without considering alternative solutions. 
  • The impact of these ill-informed decisions discourages creativity, innovation and risk-taking, leading to missed opportunities and ultimately crippling the organization's ability to adapt and compete. 


Call to Action

  • Choose one strategy and start using it at your next meeting with your admin team or your teachers


CLICK HERE for Harvard Business Review Article

CLICK HERE for Forbes Article


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If you implement any of these strategies at your school, I would love to hear from you! Send me a quick note at [email protected] and tell me about it. I can answer your questions and I’m also good at giving pep talks when you get stuck!


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