Have you ever experienced operational blindness? Where you are so focused on your business that you fail to see the biggest most glaringly obvious gaps in your business, that unfortunately every other person including your competition can see.
Unfortunately this is a common occurrence in many businesses and if not addressed can negatively impact your business.
How do we fall into this situation and why does it happen to us? Simple. When exposed to the same environment day in and day out we naturally become accustomed to it. The same behaviours that are practised everyday, whether they are good or bad, set a precedent and lay down the norms within your business for how “things” get done and how decisions get made.
So how can you prevent operational blindness from happening in your business? Think about implementing the following initiatives.
1. Take a break and step outside of your business
This is easier said than done, especially if you are a passionate business owner and want to be involved 24/7. Your passion for your business can be your biggest driver, but it can also be your Achilles heel. By taking a break, this means that you consciously decide to take a holiday every year. Getting out of the daily work routine for a few weeks and forcing yourself to think less about your business. By doing this you are able to break the operational blindness cycle and return with fresh eyes and a more objective view point of your business.
2. Have an objective party evaluate your business on a regular basis
Someone who has your best interest at heart and the most crucial point here is, someone who is not emotionally attached to the business. They should also not be spending every day in your business, as they too could become blinded by the everyday norms and routines. If you are part of a franchise business, then your field service manager or regional manager is the perfect person for this role. Welcome this person in with open arms as they are there to help and assist you.
A fresh set of competent eyes in your business is invaluable and an initiative that you should continuously practise.
3. Be open to customer feedback and complaints
This can be the hardest thing to do, but one of the most priceless resources you can leverage in your business. Another way of viewing this, to help the medicine go down a bit easier, is that your customer’s negative feedback is free information you would probably have spent thousands of dollars on gathering if you had conducted a formalised customer survey initiative.
Your customers are telling you, for free, that your business needs to improve. Customer feedback is probably the most untapped business resource you have at your disposal. Be prepared to listen to their comments before trying to justify your actions.
4. Talk to your employees
Your team are a wealth of information. They are the ones working at the coal face the majority of the time. They can tell you exactly what’s happening and not happening in the business. Keep yourself regularly updated with their feedback so you can act quickly to rectify undesirable situations from taking place.
Another way to keep your ear on the ground is to actually spend a day job shadowing your team members. See the true colours of the business through the eyes of an employee.
5. Work with a coach
If your aim is to eliminate operational blindness or to implement any another changes within your business, in order to grow and develop, then bringing a coach on board is ideal to assist you with moving through this change process.
Coaches provide you with a non-judgemental space to brainstorm ideas. They help you cut through the clutter and assist you with defining your key goals and action plans. They are there to support your decisions and help you stay accountable to yourself and your business. Change is hard, why do it alone?
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