Have you washed your windows lately?

This past weekend, I undertook a serious cleaning project to get my beach house ready to put on the market.  I scrubbed nooks and crannies that I hadn’t even noticed in years.  It took hours – days, in fact.  Near the end of my available time, I thought about cleaning the windows.  But, as I looked out at the yard, they seemed clean enough.  I didn’t see any obvious flaws.

Then, I noticed a blemish on one, so I washed it — inside and out.  Suddenly, the rest of the windows looked REALLY dirty.  The contrast between the clean window and the dirty ones was obvious.  I had thought the windows were “clean enough” because I was comparing them to each other.  They all looked about the same.  Only when I compared the dirty windows to a clean one did I see the problem.

Now, let’s take this metaphor to the business world.  How often do we think we are seeing an issue clearly because we’re looking out of our own “windows” without realizing that the windows themselves are clouded?  We get stuck in thinking patterns, opinions, viewpoints, and pre-conceived notions without realizing it.  Maybe it’s time to wash our business windows.  So, how do we do that, you ask?  Here are some suggestions.

  1. Board of Advisors.  Whether this is formal or informal, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with bright people who will help you think through issues, offer opinions, challenge your thinking and bring balance to your processes.  Sometimes looking at things through their windows can help you see the dust on your own.
  2. Business Groups.  Meet regularly with other business people by joining appropriate groups (business owners should check out our Business Success Institute www.business-success-institute.com ).  Hearing how other people deal with issues, think through situations or find their own answers may help you dust off your own windows.
  3. Coaches.  Many people benefit from having a coach.  A good business coach will ask probing questions, challenge your pre-conceived notions, suggest alternate paths to try, and so on.  They’ll help you clean your windows by pointing out the cloudiness of your thinking.

So, how do you know if your windows need cleaning?  Just looking at them yourself won’t do the trick.  Take a step to clean one, and see if the world looks different.  You might be amazed at what you’ve been missing.




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