“The difference between winning and losing is how you deal with your blind spot.”
I am a huge fan of the National Football League. The most recognized, and highest paid player on each team is the quarterback. If Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots were to show up at your favorite restaurant, everyone would know that he was in the building. If the man who plays the position of left tackle stopped by, he would go unnoticed.
I would argue that the left tackle is the most valuable player on the field because he is responsible for protecting the quarterback’s blind spot. He blocks would be tacklers that the quarterback cannot see. Even though the average fan can’t name the left tackle, this player is the second highest paid on the team. The coach realizes that the difference between winning and losing is how he deals with the blind spot. Before I discuss how to deal with yours, let’s get clear on a definition of the blind spot.
What is a Blind Spot?
A blind spot is a personal flaw that is invisible to you, but visible to others. Everyone has at least one, but not everyone has the systems in place to manage them. Poor blind spot management can cause you to lose time and fail to achieve your desired outcomes.
For example, if I have a flaw in my keynote speech delivery, the organization that I am presenting to may not invite me back and I may never know why. If I have the right systems in place, I can find out and make the necessary adjustment. As an entrepreneurial executive, what systems can you put in place to effectively deal with your blind spot?
360 Degree Feedback Surveys
A 360 degree feedback survey is a tool that gives people at every level of the organization an opportunity to give feedback on how they perceive their supervisor. Years ago, I was a young executive in charge of 500 employees and 17 retail locations. We were having a record-setting year in sales and profits and I received several awards for our performance. My boss and the senior level executives showered me with praise at our national meetings.
I was shocked when I got the results of a survey of my subordinates. Many of them thought that I was too demanding and critical in my communication style. This survey made me aware of my blind spots and has shaped the way I lead and communicate today. If you implement a 360 degree feedback system in your organization, you can experience a similar result.
Three Ups and Three Downs
As a result of the survey feedback, I began having monthly meetings with my team. At the end of each meeting I conducted my own informal survey. I handed out blank sheets of paper and asked my managers to evaluate me using the three ups three downs system. They would list three positive aspects (ups) of my leadership and three things that they would like me to change (downs). This was an anonymous survey so there was no fear in giving feedback. This saved me a great deal of time and stress because it helped me to do more of what was working and eliminate what was not. I use this method today whenever I deliver a workshop or keynote address.
If you implement the 360 degree survey system and the three ups and three downs, you will maximize your time and minimize your stress. You can also use the surveys to get feedback from your customers and clients. If you are a team of one or one thousand, these systems will protect your blind spot like a great left tackle!
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner