Do you have business blind spots? Don’t ponder too long – we all do. In this article I explain what they are, why we have them and hot to deal with the damage they can cause your business.
When you learned driving they told you right away about the car blind spots and how dangerous and potentially fatal they can be. You also learned ( it’s written on most car mirrors as a constant reminder) that the mirror distorts the distance you see.
Business blind spots are similar in nature – they are the problems or solutions you can’t see or they are distorted in the way you see them. They can be dangerous to your business, and potentially extending beyond your business to problems in your relationships, health and lifestyle.
I defined two general types of business blind spots: Aware and Unaware. Aware blind spots come in two varieties: Problems and Solutions. The Aware blind spots are less dangerous, because you know the problem exists and can take corrective action.
The Unaware Business blind spots are the most dangerous because you can’t see them no matter how hard you look or because our view is distorted. The trickiest part of this business blind spot is that if you don’t know you have them or how they distort your vision, you can’t exercise needed caution or take corrective action. I identified four types of Unaware blind spots.
Let’s look at the different kinds of blind spots closer.
1. Aware Solution Blind Spot
This blind spot is there when you know what the problem is, but don’t know the solution. This is the easiest to address, because once you are aware of the problem and if you can’t solve it by yourself, you can get the expert who can help you find the solution.
2. Aware Problem Blind Spot
This blind spot is there when you know that there is a problem, but don’t know what it is and/or how to find it. This one is a bit harder to resolve, but still very doable. There are experts who specialize in diagnosing the problems for a business like yours. You need to find such an expert and your problem will be identified. You can then solve the problem yourself or get someone else to help you do it.
The Unaware Business Blind Spots
These problems are the most difficult ones to resolve since you don’t even realize there is a problem. Why do we have these blind spots and most importantly what can we do about it? I identified four types of Unaware blind spots and different ways we acquire them.
3. Adopted blind spots
You run the business a certain way because you believe it will lead to best results most effectively and efficiently. You wouldn’t run it this way if you knew ahead of time it wouldn’t work or have problems, would you? By running your business, I mean all aspects of it including but not limited to: lead generation, conversion, service delivery, product development, sales, customer service, management, staff hiring and retention, etc. How did you develop the methods for running your business? With the Adopted blind spots there are several possibilities:
- you copied the model of someone who achieved the results you want and/or
- you were taught by someone to uses the particular strategy, practice, vision.
After you run your business for a certain lengths of time the adoption becomes internalized. You see it as your own, and lose the distance business needed to evaluate and respond to problems objectively, impartially and speedily. You also lose the ability to clearly see the difference between your business and the one you copied. I have seen many business owners “duplicating” someones recipe, or formula, or blueprint without the ability to see why it will not work in their business. This inability to see become more severe the more significant is the investment into the adopted model.
4. “Glasses” blind spots
We all have “glasses” through which we see the business and the world in general. These “glasses” change the reality into your perception of reality which can be very different. This is where the blind spots are created. In neurolinguistic language programming (NLP) this effect is called “brain distortion” – the process which allows us to make shifts in how we experience sensory data.
We benefit from this distortion in some ways, but at other times it’s a huge limitation. We acquire these “glasses” in our childhood and the distortions accumulate based on the events and emotions in our business and personal life.
Here is the example familiar to many – jury duty. I was recently on the jury where 12 people saw and heard the same testimony and yet everyone had a different idea of what happened. The witnesses saw the same event, yet told different stories about what they saw.
This is not limited to sensory perceptions like site and hearing. In cases of alleged financial misconduct the juries look at the numbers – supposedly the more reliable measure then a person’s vision and hearing. Yet still the same phenomenon happens – different people interpret “objective” numbers differently.
In many business audits I did for many major corporations, I found intentional fraud perpetrated by an individual only once. No one else in the company saw it, until I pointed it out. Even then it was not easy for management to accept it as reality. They were looking on the situation through their “glasses” and also were too attached (the blind spot I will talk about next).