What Do You See?

During my career I have had opportunities to work in many different locations all over the country.  Each location had a completely different view.  If I was in a retail location, the view was generally of a busy street with passing cars and pedestrian traffic.  A hotel meeting or conference usually did not have a window to the outside world, so you saw mostly hotel guests and generic artwork.  A corporate office view would range from a picturesque landscape that covered countless acres to a dark alley that made you glad you were inside.  Prior to my new venture, my personal office looked over acres of trees and rolling hills that overshadowed the highways and office buildings in the area.  It was really quite beautiful, especially when a midwestern thunderstorm would roll in.  I noticed that in each location, over time, I would become accustomed to the view and almost not even notice it.  This “phenomenon” not only happens with the visual things we see everyday, but with the other important things we encounter on a daily basis.  How many times over the years do things change so gradually that we fail to notice that “suddenly” they don’t look the same anymore?  If we don’t stop and take a hard look at our business on a regular basis, what are the things we miss?

You hear about the horrible fraud cases where someone trusted within an organization has been defrauding them over a long period of time.  How did that situation happen?  Was there someone that should have been taking a hard look at things, but instead did not notice the gradual changes that were taking place?  The same could be said for long-term clients.  Do you ever get surprised because you have a sudden departure from what you believed was a very satisfied client – “They never said they were unhappy.”?  Did you take the relationship for granted and not notice the gradual unhappiness creep in?  If you are a manager in a retail location, do you ever get surprised when you get feedback that the appearance of your shop is “tired”?  As you walk in every day it looks clean and organized.  How do you notice that over time paint, signs, and other fixtures become faded and lose their lustre?  All of these situations require us to take a hard, honest look at the things we see on a daily basis.  If we cannot be the objective eye to identify the opportunities for improvement, who do we task to give us this critical information?

My new venture has the wonderful view of a rooftop.  I see roofing, air conditioning units, and depending on the season, leaves blowing around.  While others may see this as an eyesore, I see it as the view that was given to me as I explore my new opportunities to help others with their vision.  I see this as my avenue to adventure.  Over time, to make sure that I do not miss the gradual changes or become accustomed to the view, I will need some objective help to remind me that this vision needs to stay on track.  Who will you have do this for you?