As a leader, you are dependent on your employees to know what is really going on in your company, all the way through the different layers and departments. How is your company actually doing? Are employees happy? Are projects and KPIs on track? Are you moving in the right direction?
There is one big problem with this dependency, though. We as humans have a strong, underlying urge to please the ones surrounding us - especially our superiors. This urge is making us filter out bad news as information travels up the formal levels.
Our good friend Mathias from Think Clearly has written down his thoughts on this very phenomenon in Vol. 6 of his handwritten newsletter. We have featured it right here.
Mathias makes a very important point here. Blind spots are part of everyday worklife, regardless if you're in management or production. And the biggest challenge is: You have no idea about your own blind spots. You don't know if or when you are having any.
This distorts your view. It all looks great from your standpoint, given the information that has been passed on to you - but the information has gaps, that you have no chance at all to know about.
And that is a big challenge, especially as a leader whose key responsibility is to make informed, fast decisions on a daily basis, that change the course of the company's future.
With all this in mind, how can we be trusted partners if we distort reality? How do we find the courage to share clearly?
And as leaders, how can we actively work against our own blind spots? The answer to these questions is: We can't. Not on our own, anyway.
Here's a suggestion:
How about breaking up with your longtime lover, the inside-out approach. Per default, it creates obvious challenges for internal knowledge sharing, decision making and eventually for reaching business goals.
Instead, take on an outside-in approach. Customer engagement allows your customers to shine a light on your blind spots. Watch them interact with your projects in marketing, sales, product management, IT development, customer service and business development. And then work strategically with integrating those customer insights into your internal processes.
This is not rocket science - your customers have needs and in order to succeed as a company, you need to fulfill those needs. There are very obvious and proven upsides to choosing an outside-in approach as a company: Customers have no interest in lying or leaving out parts of the truth.
They will deliver honest and neutral feedback. This provides a common ground for wiser, faster business decisions, and - quite frankly - kills 99% of the unnecessary, time consuming internal discussions. We know this from our clients. We have seen it happen many times.
Changing to an outside-in approach allows you to discover the potential from your own blind spots. 70% of projects fail due to lack of user acceptance. Avoid failure in your projects and business. Click the button below to learn more.