Is Common Sense Really So Common?

Turtle in roadIn the course of a day, I run across so many things that simply don’t make sense to me.

Yesterday, I got some coffee from a restaurant in a food court. When I proceeded to the area to get some cream and sugar, I found that it was also the order pick-up window. I was interrupted in fixing my coffee three times in the course of one minute and someone nearly spilled my coffee as they reached for their sandwich.

Then, this morning I was browsing a very interesting website and I tried to find a phone number to call the company. It wasn’t on their Contact Us page, and after 2 minutes of searching their website, I gave up. They missed out on a new customer, because I couldn’t find the phone number and I don’t have the pleasure of using their services.

In both instances, I thought to myself that it simply didn’t make sense. Who are the people that organize these things? Have they ever tried using it from the users’ point of view?

And then I started thinking about this more deeply…

Is it truly possible for someone to look at their business, or their everyday life, from an objective, outside perspective?

When we work on something so closely and for so many hours, we become entrenched in the day-to-day functions; what we must do to stay afloat, how we will meet the demands and how to make it happen as easily as possible. Sometimes, what is easy for the manager of a task is not easy for the customer or family member involved.

Take the example of the coffee station and pick up window. What makes sense is to separate the two for the ease of the customer. Instead, the manager is thinking that they would have another area to keep clean, there might be pilferage and the employees would have to go to around to the front of the counter to fill the sugars and creamers, therefore wasting valuable time. Or maybe the managers didn’t think about this at all.

Why didn’t they think about it? Because “this is the way it has always been done” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This is the mentality of many overworked managers. They are often so busy and understaffed that they work solely on putting out fires instead of creating the flame of a thriving operation. The same can be said of many who run households and raise children.

Often, what makes sense is overlooked, because the thing that makes the most sense in the moment is simply holding it all together. This way of thinking works fine for the short term, but long term it will cause a breakdown of one kind or another. Either the kind that puts you and everything else on hold for a while or one that makes it impossible to continue at all.

Have you heard the expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees?” This means that when you’re too close to something, it’s virtually impossible to see the whole picture. This is a natural human phenomenon, because we are taught to get up close and personal and to focus on the details and the nitty-gritty. We’re taught to be in the trenches and to stick with what’s working. But when we’re too close, it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us.

So what can you do when you find yourself on overload or if you want to take a good look at what’s really happening in your household or your business? How can you get a truly objective assessment?

First, you can try it from the customers’ perspective. Use your own website like a customer would. Read your ‘chores board’ like your kids would, and use your services just like your clients do.

Another common sense approach is to hire a coach or consultant. These professionals are trained to look at the things you simply can’t see. They are trained to ask the questions that you haven’t thought to ask. And they aren’t as close to it as you are, so their feelings won’t get in the way.

Finally, you could ask a trusted friend or associate for their opinion of whatever you’re doing. It must be someone who has your best interest at heart and who is capable of communicating it to you lovingly, clearly and with compassion.

Keep this in mind; what’s worked in the past may be ‘good enough’ but it’s not always the best way to do something and you might be losing credibility with your customers, family and friends.

What simple, common sense strategies are you missing out on? Have you taken a moment to notice? It’s simply common sense.

Now, that’s Powerful!

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