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I have worked for some really cool organisations across a range of industries and I have noticed some recurring themes that seem to pop up wherever you go. Everyone has their blind spot and it often takes someone that is outside of the ‘fishbowl’ to see what is really going on.

I’d like to share a couple of the “thinking mistakes” that I think are holding some organisations back:

1. “My team has the knowledge, skills and capabilities to deliver this work.

Teams are often at operational capacity and have no time to make improvements or do extra work, which makes sense when you think about it. That’s sort of the point of employment. They could also be averse to change or another way of thinking. By giving them extra work they will do it the quickest way possible and the way they know how, or they may not have time to do it at all. This may not be the best solution.

As an example, here is one of my previous experiences: A team leader was assigned a task to review and update a contractor management process. The worker, understandably, had fairly limited knowledge of systems outside of what was currently in place, and, as a result, the system developed did not make a quantum leap to improve the effectiveness of the current system.

By not going outside the team, the opportunity for new thinking was lost. They believed they had the knowledge in house and chose not to spend money on an external contractor.

2. “I don’t need to talk to all the people involved in this, I will make a call and get it done.

Decisions made with this thinking just don’t consider flow-on impacts or work that’s occurring in parallel to the relevant task. This can often result in duplication of effort, or outcomes that don’t align with the organisations direction or other teams within the organisation.

It introduces additional costs, wastes precious time and pisses other people off.

3. “I’ve been around long enough to know how this should work, I don’t need anyone else telling me what needs to be done.

Obviously, there’s huge value in experience and knowing an organisation like the back of your hand, but someone with an outside perspective will see things that someone buried in the problem may not see.

Continuing the thinking that has led you to be in your current position is a surefire way to keep doing what has led you to this position in the first place. Let’s just say that this may not achieve the best outcome moving forward.

4. “We can use the ICT/business system we have and adapt it to suit our needs, we don’t need another system specifically to do this.

By not investigating and investing in the correct technology you might save some money at the procurement stage, but trying to adapt technology built for something else will likely leave you with something that will work, but will be clunky and not user friendly.

These short term savings will lead to long term losses, operational inefficiencies, and will frustrate employees.

5. “I don’t fully understand the problem, but I know what needs to be done to fix it.

This is obviously a mistake, but you’d be surprised at how hard it can be to recognise in the moment!

By not fully understanding the issue you’re likely to target something that isn’t the real cause, or to select an inappropriate or inefficient way to fix it. You will likely create another problem rather than fix the original problem.

6. “I know the organisation wants to do it this way but that doesn’t work for my team, so I am going to do it my own way.

I think everyone in a leadership position has had this thought at some point. This thinking will lead you to end up with multiple systems across the organisation, with the associated compliance and inefficiency issues. Staff and contractors won’t know what to do when working across units and systems.

I once came across a team at a water utility that was adamant they would not change. They said that if we implemented a new system they would still be using their old system. Now, obviously, this would have created significant issues for the organisation. Different groups working under different systems was sure to create confusion, inefficiency and compliance issues – a huge headache for everyone.

You can call it being “stuck in their ways” or having a strong preference for the current system, but sometimes you need to do more than simply show the benefits of the new system. Sometimes you also have to listen to feedback and make some improvements to the new system based on previous user experience, which is exactly what we ended up doing.

This gave the team some ownership of the new system and provided a clearer picture of what it could do. Since implementing the new system this group has become the most effective in applying it and are using the system as it was designed.

7. “I used consultants before and they cost me a packet, left me with a half-arsed solution that doesn’t work, my staff are angry because the new processes have created additional work for them and it is going to cost me more money to fix this mess.

To have a preconceived idea that all consultants are bad and do not add value to your organisation is a limiting belief, both in the short and long term. This limits the potential for new knowledge and ideas to be introduced to the organisation, and it means the benefits of engaging effective consultants are not realised.

It’s also a very understandable opinion, and the “once bitten, twice shy” mentality is a natural part of human survival instincts.

The solution we implement to fix this is to build trust through clear, concise and complete communication. At the end of an engagement with TouchPoint One, you will know exactly what we have done, you’ll be left with a roadmap of what is next and how to wring every last drop of value out of our work.

Are you interested in working with TouchPoint One? Book a non-committal chat with today so that we can figure out how we can best help your organisation to improve and prosper.