Can You Read These Letters?

I just had my routine eye exam with my local optometrist.

While I’m trying to guess if I’m looking at a P or an R, I often find myself imagining what life would be like if we had no optometrists, prescription glasses, contact lenses, or laser-eye surgery.

Imagine your morning commute to the office if none of that existed!

Actually, sometimes driving does feel a bit like that…

As I meet with more and more CEOs and senior executives one thing has become increasingly clear to me. We all get too close to our own businesses to see different problems and opportunities clearly enough.

Our sight becomes blurred and we either need to freshen up our eyes by giving them a break, or update our prescription.

Here are six ways to ensure you’re seeing clearly with sharp focused eyes.

1) Talk To Your Customers – Your customers and clients will often be very candid and honest with you if they’re asked for their opinions and feedback. You should be surveying customers regularly. If you’re not, you’re walking blindly.

2) Take a vacation – This should be obvious, but unplug the phone, turn off the email, and get away for a few days. You’ll come back refreshed and relaxed.

3) Talk To Your Employees – This is the Undercover Boss Phenomenon (I like the show, but find myself making fun of it on occasion! Everyone looks so dumfounded when the CEO reports back his experiences). Half the time the employees within your organization have wonderful suggestions on how to solve specific challenges you’re dealing with. Have you created an environment where their input can be gathered, appreciated, and acted upon?

4) Network – Look for ways to interact with your peers, and look OUTSIDE YOUR INDUSTRY! I cannot stress this enough – your greatest insights will not come from talking to the same group of people over and over again, about the same few ‘inside baseball’ topics. Your greatest breakthroughs will be seeing how successful people are being creative in their very different industries, and finding ways to adopt that to yourself and your own company.

5) Hire a Consultant – That’s a tad shameless of me, I confess. But more often than not my primary role with many of my clients is to simply act as an objective third-party sounding board, idea source, and confidante. I may not be the right Consultant for your organization, but I can certainly refer you to others who might be.

Today’s Thinking Point: Are you seeing things with 20/20 vision or is it time to freshen up those eyes?