Avoid being blinded by the 'obvious', avoid disaster and run a healthy company.

Throughout history there have been huge opportunities missed and disasters which could've been avoided all through a particular kind of blindness: the inability (or unwillingness) to pick up the weak signals or uncomfortable truths and make better decisions...

  • Google missed the dawn of social media.

  • Microsoft missed the coming of the usable, commercial Internet.

  • EMI missed signing the Beatles!

  • And on a smaller scale I'm sure we can relate to losing a key member of staff when everything looked fine!

Add to these any number of collisions, explosions, oils spills and other disasters which could've been prevented.

Here two ways to make better decisions, run a healthy company and help avoid disasters.

1) Get rid of the "if it's not broke" mentality

I grew up with the phrase "if its not broke, don't fix it!"

This is a lousy way to approach life. If we only attend to things when they're broken, then they're far more expensive to fix (if fixing is possible at all) and very likely a lot of damage has already been caused.

Become a proactive enquirer. Ask people how they're doing, why things are done that way, what problems have been recorded, who's unhappy...

Try and pick up the weak signals that can inform you of a pattern that may indicate things are going wrong and can be attended too before its too late.

2) The Strategic Council

But running a business is often tough so how can we be even better informed about what's going on and hear the hard truths we need to be aware of.

Jim Collins in his famous book Good to Great refers to the 'strategic council'. A group of advisors (usually quite small) including at least one external party that can ask questions and share observations so the leadership can be better informed and can steer the company more effectively.

Outsiders are key in this respect as they can help the leadership see what they can't see. We can't go into execution mode and maintain peripheral vision at the same time! The council can give you the perspective you need so when you dive into the mix you are better informed of the roadblocks and pitfalls.



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