From the Outside Looking In

Plate and glassBusinesses tend to build their foundation on one thing they do really well.  The best businesses then  import  competence and develop the skills that do not come naturally to them.  Eventually they have the complete package, even though they still rely on the thing that they do the very best.   In that way, a business is no different than a person. We all have things that come naturally to us and we all have blind spots and things we have the opportunity to learn in this lifetime.

There is nothing wrong with  overcoming weakness by focusing on strengths. But when you make weakness into strength,  people experience a game changer that creates the most success possible.

There is a restaurant I enjoy that has some of the finest chef-created food around.  I never forget that someone I took there years ago told me it was the best meal he had ever eaten.

But every time I dine there, I notice a detail, not one on the plate, that is not quite right.  That does not completely deter me, but it makes me eat there less often.  While I’m there, I am so happy about the food on the table that a flaw does not really bother me.  If a server completely omits something or a manager who forgets to set the appropriate lighting level until the middle of dinner service – I am still feeling OK.  Later on I reflect on what could have been improved.

If you know me, you realize how much I appreciate the food and the chef, because details like this tend to become great annoyances in my world.  Inevitably, even when I am dining out for fun — part of me is still working.

When I reflect back on the forgetful server or the lighting problems,  it reminds me that the eyes see out.  From the inside, it can be difficult to see where a business needs shoring up. This is especially true when people are raving about your food, or whatever factor really put you on the map.

Some people naturally see their own flaws.  But most business people either don’t see where they could improve or they do see it but think they can overcome it just by being good at their strengths.  It is a lot easier for an outsider to see opportunities because they are not bought into how things ought to be or defending past decisions or stroking a human ego.  The best businesses look for every opportunity to use outside experts to improve.