How we need to avoid our blind spot hampering our journey.

What is our blind spot for change? The idea is not right alongside the vehicle you are in. The idea is a little back, in the blind spot, on your blind side. It’s hard to see whether the idea will eventually drift to a place where you can get a better look at it or fly past you leaving you for dust or indicate left and crash into you or even do something else unexpected!

Six months is a long time for ideas and for change! With breath-taking speed, matched only by the rate of technology innovation on which we now try to run, our collective outlook on economic, political and social forecasts has changed substantially. It no longer matters if one views them from across global, national or local levels, change is vast and the risk of the blind spot is growing exponentially. Each month contains new upheavals that the media describe as ‘once-in-a-generation’ news stories, now we see an entire year of our early adulthoods in one week of news! With this in mind we need new, fast paced and easy to lean-on strategies to ensure we know what is in our blind spot.

The key mention of blind spots from the High Way Code says,

Rule 159: Check the blind spot before moving off. 160. Once moving you should. keep to the left, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise. The exceptions are when you want to overtake, turn right or pass parked vehicles or pedestrians in the road. keep well to the left on right-hand bends.

Now we are moving quickly we need to always be mindful of the place we can’t see to one side of us or in the rear-view mirror. Why do we have blind spots and what can we do about them?

Time or speed: We are going so fast that we don’t have the time to check the blind spot and therefore are running at risk. We see this so much right now in all that we do (life and delivery), we set ourselves goals that we race towards sometimes missing what is to either side of the goal in mind. As we try to imbue an innovation mindset we need to make sure we have the capacity and capability to glance either side of the goal and make sure we are not missing something that could be intrinsic to our success.

Engineering of the ‘vehicle’ we are in: The way we set ourselves up to move must have every feature possible to decrease the blind spot. Think about the safety features applied to modern cars to help the driver avoid the blind spot, now consider the safety features you could apply on your digital delivery journey. For me one of the best ways to avoid danger is to ask a fellow passenger to check with you, relying on a colleagues to help with seeking out the blind spot I think is a great way to ensure that not only have you got more than one pair of eyes looking but also that you are taking in a different perspective of what may be lurking in the gap.

Eye-sight that needs a check-up: Those that know me well have just had a little chuckle at this one I am guessing! But, making sure that you are on the journey and can see well has got to help avoid those blind spots. On the digital journey I translate this to having all the information you need at each point in the journey to ensure you are making the right observations to steer the journey safely to the location you are aiming for, whist at the same time ‘good eye sight’ allows you to see where the short cut may well be and ensure that thise that are traveling near you are not in your way or diverging in such a way that your journey becomes pointless.

Poor discipline of others on the road: This I think is the scariest of them all as it is so hard to defend against. Quite simply its all about your own defence which comes down to a heightened sense of alert as to what others near you are up to. Drive in any major city in India to witness a very different cultural solution to the blind spot, communicate communicate communicate. Positive communication to others on the road around you that you are there and aware of them is achieved in India in particular through the use of the car horn; what is the equivalent of this we could adopt I wonder. We may not always want to reveal the idea or thing we are doing to others on the journey, often we are trying to achieve a competitive edge but wherever we can if we use our own proverbial car horn not only will we let others know we are there so they can avoid crashing into us we may actually get some help from others on the journey with us. Done right and in moderation I wonder if this is a solve for some of the issues, more open and clear communication about the journey we are on.

The good old highway code offers us some more advice on avoiding an accident lurking in the blind spot:

… use your mirrors frequently so that you always know what is behind and to each side of you.

Always knowing what is around you comes back to what data points that you know and can get to. When it comes to the piloting of the digital transformation journey or simply helping get the big idea over the line being able to access all data relating to the ‘end in mind’ will always assist the journey. Knowing what tools and where to look is also important at this point too, lets face it we can all swivel our head to see what the next person is up to, the real key here is to look into places that others may not have to shine a light on all the risks and do something about them as quickly as possible to protect the journey you are on.    

… use them in good time before you signal or change direction or speed

You need plenty of time to try to ensure that its safe to change direction or alter the speed you are trying to move at. We have to think again about the communications we give here, if the change we are making is all about competitive edge then our communications will be entirely about how we manage internally the change we are about to make so that all the support necessary is in place should we have an accident as we move. If its not about the competition then lets signal in plenty of time the move we are about to make to make sure that we have all the support we could possibly require.

… be aware that mirrors do not cover all areas and there will be blind spots.

I guess the most important part of all this though is accepting, defining and working with the blind spots we all have. If you know its there then you can act with the knowledge of its existence even if there isn’t clarity on exactly what it can cause or when it will ‘jump out’ on you. A bit like watching a scary movie though, you know its coming the moment when you will jump and react but by knowing its coming you will have a heightened sense of reaction when it does come.

Digital transformation and the generation of ideas to achieve transformation will always have a blind spot to it. But what about our/your own personal blind spots? When you are beavering way on that latest gnarly issue trying to move to the next lane of the change motorway how do you accept and then do something about your own blind spot.

Is it a bias, a prejudice, a preference that you know is your own blind spot that you need to use all of the tactics above to keep it in check and stop it causing an accident for you as you try to drive the change you know you have in mind. Simply put by the high way code, accepting and knowing that the blind spot exists and always checking it out more than once as you make a move to change is the surest way to avoid the blind spot remaining blind.