Trust me, you have blind spots

We all have blind spots and business owners are no exception. Blind spots definition is a prejudice, or area of ignorance, that one has, but is often unaware of. The best leaders are constantly searching for not only theirs, but where these ghastly black holes could be lurking in their business. 

Blind spots in business, by their very nature, are not obvious. Even the most senior, experienced manager or consultant can’t view the business through the eyes of every employee in every circumstance. 

Based on the wattsnext group’s experience, these are the top six business owner blind spots: 

  1. Morale: is when employees outwardly observe others, their behaviours and impacts across a group, do you have some toxic employees negatively affecting others around them? 
  2. Workload: is your resourcing right and how are the individual employees perceiving their own workloads, maybe you have some capacity you didn’t realise?
  3. Longevity: your people seem happy, and your turnover percentage is low, but how long are individual employees planning on staying?
  4. Recognition: is good work and behaviour being rewarded the way the individuals in the team want to be rewarded? You care, but does the team understand that?
  5. Communication: You meet and communicate regularly, but is it adequate, and are your messages getting through to the people that matter?
  6. Mental health: you provide a great work-life balance, but the world has been unsettled the past few years, how are your employees personally holding up? 

‘a blind spot is something you are unable to understand or see how important it is’

Most managers remain blissfully unaware of blind spots until obvious and often expensive damage occurs. Like when a top performer unexpectedly walks out the door, you can’t retain your staff or your productivity plummets. It is widely agreed that hybrid working environments that have been normalised in today’s business landscape, contribute to business owner blind spots. 

‘modern, flexible, hybrid, and technology reliant workplace means small to medium businesses have never been more vulnerable to blind spots’ 

The great news is the answer to a somewhat complicated problem is relatively simple. You need to conduct a deliberate, simple, and anonymous survey to your team, that you can benchmark against each year. The wattsnext group has been conducting these anonymous surveys with our clients for well over a decade now, which has allowed us to perfect the questions and benchmark growing small to medium businesses across all industries. The data is fascinating, and I could count on one hand the times business owners don’t discover something new. 

These surveys always lead to positive change. Anonymous surveys are best conducted by an independent, unbiased, third party who can strategically gather and benchmark your team’s data against other ‘like for like’ businesses. Conducting these surveys in the final quarter of the year, leading into the summer break, when the team is likely fatigued, vulnerable and open uncovers blind spots. 

Engagement Survey for blind spots

‘the data gathered will show your team you are listening and form the foundation of your HR strategic plan’ 

At wattsnext, we won’t engage in larger projects or retained work without conducting an anonymous survey as part of our discovery process and these should continue to occur annually. Ignorance is dangerous, business owners must avoid being uninformed, prejudiced and unappreciative. Once aware, we can improve, but the key is truly identifying the areas of weakness and that takes more than general observation or simple meeting rhythms.

Author: Ben Watts
Ben is a veteran in the HR space- a forward-thinking leader specialising in functional business structures and people performance techniques. With twenty years’ experience managing large ASX listed corporates across multiple industries, Ben adds depth and expertise to our clients' strategy solutions, genuinely providing a commercial result for their investment.