Most drivers know how to identify blind spots on the road, but did you know that we also have blind spots in business, and if we ignore them, we can get sideswiped?
Business founders often handle a range of jobs when they launch a company, so, over time, they begin to feel that they are competent at everything.
However, everyone has innate talents and weak points. And if business owners don’t adequately compensate for these weaknesses, they can become blind spots.
Self-Awareness: The Key To Success
It’s hard to get an unbiased evaluation of our own strengths and weaknesses, but self-awareness is the only way to identify blind spots.
Let’s start with your strengths. What part of your business do you love? Why did you start this kind of business in the first place? What activities, no matter how demanding, inspire you to get out of bed, energize you and give you the greatest sense of satisfaction?
Your weaknesses are often the tasks that you avoid or that frustrate you. When jobs are tedious or annoying, it is difficult to give them adequate attention. Consequently, it’s easy to become blind to insufficiencies in these areas.
That’s why, once you identify the parts of your business that keep you energized, it’s time to delegate the rest.
After a keynote speech at a conference, a tax accountant came up to me and said, “I would hate to be up there doing a dog and pony show every day in a new city. How do you stand it?” I laughed to myself. He spent his time in a quiet office, working with numbers all day. That was my idea of torture.
The point is that different people love working in different parts of the business. Maybe it’s easy to embrace your sweet spot, but you also must be honest about areas that don’t interest you as much. And then find a team of people who will handle those parts of the business with a passion.
DISCover The Four Business Skill Quadrants
Understanding your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses is complex and requires a fair amount of analysis to do properly. But a simplified overview involves dividing business skills into four quadrants: direction, income, systems and controls—or DISC.
• Direction: People who are good at direction like big-picture planning. They enjoy creating a vision for the business, an inspiring mission and a 10-year plan that gets people excited. On the other hand, if your blind spot is direction, you may dread strategic planning, focus on activity this month but ignore next year, or get overwhelmed by industry news or competitive analyses.
• Income: Individuals who excel in income are not necessarily financial experts. They are the sales and marketing pros who know how to find prospects and convert them into revenue. If your blind spot is income, you might find that you avoid cold calls, shy away from networking or don’t really understand how marketing efforts affect business.
• Systems: Systems people like planning, operations and processes. What needs to be done even if no customers call on you? Who is managing operations? Who (or what) answers the phone? What happens to the mail? People who have a blind spot in systems may find that they are continually surprised when a machine breaks down, checks get lost or there’s no toilet paper in the bathrooms.
• Controls: Controls are about checks and balances. Are you scheduling audits? Who is doing employee reviews? Who is reviewing contracts? Which types of insurance do you need? If you have a blind spot in controls, you may tend to ignore analytical reports, skimp on legal fees or wonder what certain employees actually do all day.
Identifying Your Quadrant
Most business founders have some skills in all four quadrants because they had to handle them all to launch the business. But the willingness to take on tasks in the startup phases doesn’t translate into you being the best choice to address them in the future.
When your business is up and running and you’re ready to grow, it’s time to choose a DISC quadrant and focus on excellence in that area. Then, find experts to handle the other quadrants. As you delegate to qualified team members, you’ll find your business will start growing faster and be more profitable than ever.