Have You Try Looking Under Your Nose?

Next time you’re out walking, do the following. Stop and look around. Notice the details you have likely missed despite walking by a location countless times. You might see a patio that you didn’t know was there or you’ll see a restaurant hidden away from view.

It’s impossible for us to notice every little thing in the world around us. That’s why we are often surprised when we see something amazing that has been right under our nose the entire time.

The same dynamic applies to companies. The best companies are constantly looking for fresh ideas, innovative approaches or the next big thing. This isn’t groundbreaking news. 

The amazing thing is that these ideas are often staring at executives right in the face.

All companies have employees who have great ideas that aren’t known widely enough. Think of the hotel doorman who has noticed how customers tend to struggle to find the reception when they first walk in. Or the retail employee who knows that certain items are really popular but there’s never enough of them.

I call these ideas “hidden knowledge”. It’s all there but companies aren’t able to consistently convert it to visible and useful knowledge. This means that executives are making important decisions with a partial understanding of what is going on. Imagine how much better decisions could be if they could access all of the possible knowledge.

The sizes of the visible and hidden knowledge boxes are different for each company. Dillard’s, an ultra-successful retail chain in the US, has done a great job at surfacing hidden knowledge. Executives visit stores on a weekly basis to understand what is working and what isn’t. Their laser focus has created fanatical customers and incredible stock growth.

Bed, Bath and Beyond offers a counterexample. I wrote about their disastrous strategy that dismissed the ideas of store employees. They outright rejected the process of seeking hidden knowledge and simply made decisions based on what they thought they knew.

The key for companies is constantly working to unearth the hidden knowledge and convert it into raw materials for better decisions. It can’t be just a one-time event because knowledge is being created every day. One time events are basically the pitch for TV shows like Undercover Boss, which may help in the short term but you’re bound to find yourself in the same position if there isn’t a systematic approach to finding hidden knowledge.

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer

One more thing before you go!

For those who are interested in making better decisions, here are two options that you can consider.

Option 1: 9 in 90 

I'll spend 90 minutes with your organization helping you make progress (or solve entirely) your 9 most important decisions including Decision Confidence. In the past, organizations have used the time together to tackle decisions around key hires, strategy, conflicts and much more. You will also learn the process for how to tackle decisions rapidly and walk away with clear action steps. We will also have a check-in 30 days after our initial session to see how your team is progressing. Get in touch today. 

Option 2: Just-In-Time (JIT) Advisory ™

Work with me to build your Decision Confidence in real situations over 90 days. The JIT Advisory™ provides your with rapid advice on your most difficult situations and decisions. Get an objective sounding board, accountability and support when you need it the most. This is the best way to build your Decision Confidence over the long term. Learn more