As a business owner or as an executive, you are one busy person. You can make good decisions and get things done. But somehow, you have problems like those employees who always seem to wait for you to tell them to get started. Here are some more. See if any sound familiar:
- Customers continue to gripe about defective products you turn out, no matter what you try.
- Your business is making money, but you are worn out because everyone wants a slice of your time.
- You’ve run into problems with family members who are involved in the business that are distracting you or disrupting your business.
Yogi Berra would have said, “We're lost, but we're making good time.”
The Vision Problem
We are only human. We stop seeing things that are always in our field of vision, they become virtually invisible.
This was a great evolutionary advantage that kept our ancestors from being eaten by toothy critters lurking in the shadows. We notice what is different in our environment because that small, version 1.0 processor between our ears has learned to toss out familiar things so it has the bandwidth to process the importance of the unfamiliar. We have a split-second to decide if that new thing is dangerous and save ourselves or take a more leisurely approach and decide if it’s sexy or edible.
Unknowns & Known Unknowns
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was onto something when he said, “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”[/sidebar]
This is why you have a tough time identifying and fixing underlying, chronic problems in your business. Although Yogi would probably say something like, “You can observe a lot just by watching,” the fact is that our “watching” is far less than perfect. The following excerpt from John Salvatier’s blog, Reality has a surprising amount of detail, gives us great insight into this problem and how to fix it.
“Before you’ve noticed important details, they are, of course, basically invisible. It’s hard to put your attention on them because you don’t even know what you’re looking for. But after you see them, they quickly become so integrated into your intuitive models of the world that they become essentially transparent.
“Do you remember the insights that were crucial in learning to ride a bike or drive? How about the details and insights you have that led you to be good at the things you’re good at?
“This means it’s really easy to get stuck. Stuck in your current way of seeing and thinking about things. Frames1 are made out of the details that seem important to you. The important details you haven’t noticed are invisible to you, and the details you have noticed seem completely obvious and you see right through them. This all makes it difficult to imagine how you could be missing something important.
“… It means you could be intellectually stuck right at this very moment, with the evidence right in front of your face and you just can’t see it.”
How to Solve the Problem
The good news is you can fix this problem. It can be a do-it-yourself project that takes years and plenty of self-awareness and reflection, or you can bring in someone from the outside who does not have the mental frames you are looking through and can spot the problems you are not seeing.
These may well be the root causes that, when fixed, end the chronic problems for good. Of course, you don’t want to bring in just anyone; you want professionals who have the background to do more than look. You want professionals with the benefit of experience and can help with solutions to your problems.
Professional Business Coaches who have the accreditation, on-going training and tools to help you see issues and options clearly and take appropriate action are one option for dramatically accelerating learning. Because they are pros, they tailor the solutions to your specific business and situation. So, as you learn, you see an immediate improvement in your company.
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1. “…framing comprises a set of concepts and theoretical perspectives on how individuals, groups, and societies, organize, perceive, and communicate about reality.” – Wikipedia.