When I bought my Mazda6, one of the features that unexpectedly sold me on the car was a BSDS – Blind Spot Detection System.
If you activate your turn signal and start to turn the steering wheel, sensors in the wheel wells automatically check to see if there are any vehicles in your “blind spot” – and beep loudly at you if you’re about to make a mistake.
I love that feature. It has saved my bacon more than once.
The fact is, no matter how intelligent or experienced we may be, we all have some blind spots. I was on the phone last week with one of my referral partners, discussing a cash flow frustration I’ve regularly experienced. Because I’ve given her a clear line of sight into my business, she quite accurately told me the best way to fix it. As soon as I got off the phone, I knew she was right – her observation was a succinct summary of bits and pieces I’d been seeing for years, but I couldn’t seem to put it all together.
Why did I have that blind spot? I really, REALLY wanted my business to take a certain shape – one I decided on 9 years ago – and couldn’t see how a relatively small (really, inevitable) adjustment would make the whole approach much better.
Couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
She could see it from the outside, however, because there was no emotional attachment to some less-than-optimal “ideal” I’d constructed.
I had a similar experience (with roles reversed) talking with a consultant recently. The business model simply wasn’t working. It wasn’t for lack of effort, or smarts – it was just a mis-matched business for this particular individual. I had to gently, but firmly, help this colleague see that it was OK to give up the current approach (who wants to feel like they’ve “failed” at something??) in order to pursue something that really had his name written all over it.
You know what’s wonderful in a business partner? Brilliance. You know what’s way more important? Objectivity and kindness, fueled by practical experience. That’s how blind spots get fixed.
For further reading: The Clients You Don’t Want