Then, she helped us measure about eight inches and place a second mark on the right side of the paper. She then asked us to close our right eyes and focus our left eyes on the mark on the right side of the paper.
By moving the paper closer or farther away, the mark on the left would disappear.
I had discovered my blind spot.
The mark was still on the paper, but I couldn’t see it—even though it was right in front of my eyes.
At the right distance, the mark on the left moves into a space that your eye isn’t able to see.
Blind spots are everywhere.
Michael Lewis’ fantastic book, The Big Short, tells the story of bond traders who created credit default swaps out of incredibly risky mortgage holdings and yet almost no one could see the risks.
It was right there in front of everyone, but everyone was making so much money that almost no one saw what was really going on. This blind spot cost financial companies trillions of dollars and took the American economy to the brink.
(Another of Lewis’ books, Money Ball, is about blind spots in baseball management—also an excellent read).
Blind spots hold us back.
They keep us from seeing vital information.
Even though it’s right in front of us.
I like this example of a blind spot shared by Roy Williams in his Monday Morning Memo a few months ago:
My partner Peter Nevland recently bumped into the owner of a bottled water service who asked him for some free advice.
Peter asked, “Why should the customer of another water service switch to yours?”
“We’re locally owned.” “Ten percent of our profits go to charity,” blah, blah, blah.
Peter was unimpressed. Exasperated and grasping at straws, the man mentioned his water had recently been voted “Best Tasting” by the readers of an obscure, local business journal.
“Why do you think you won?”
The man hung his head, “We cheat.”
“Our water is saturated with dissolved oxygen, twice the amount found in regular water.”
“What does that do?”
“Dissolved oxygen is what makes water taste good. It’s why cold water tastes better than warm water. Cold water contains more dissolved oxygen.”
“You’re saying your room temperature water tastes like cold water?”
The man nodded his head.
“Do you always saturate your water with dissolved oxygen?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
SAD ENDING: Peter was unable to convince the man to promote his better tasting water with dissolved oxygen. I swear I’m not making this up. The man remained convinced his ads needed to say, “We’re locally owned and give ten percent of our profits to charity.”
Blind spots can keep us from telling the right story about our brands. They keep us from seeing things from our customer’s perspective. Or from our employee’s point of view. Instead, we think we need to be like everyone else.
What are you doing to identify your blind spots?