Dealing with the Blind Spot

Copyright © 01/2024 ❘ The Enterneers®

Everyone has so-called blind spots and therefore there are various blind spots in every company, often in every department and at every workplace. Many of these blind spots are non-threatening and have little impact on the company's performance. Other blind spots can develop into influencing factors with considerable potential for damage. How do you recognise these blind spots and how do you deal with them effectively? Blind spots have one thing in common: they are easily overlooked. We are familiar with this effect from driving, and it can be directly transferred to work in your own company.

Entrepreneurs, founders, and managers often find themselves navigating complex constellations and situations and making decisions for the entire organisation or parts of it. Their thoughts, judgements, and considerations play a prominent role in this. A large part of these processes does not rely solely on objective and exclusively fact-based assumptions. Rather, personal thought processes, perceptions, personal experiences, and individual experiences characterise the decision-making process. People use their value systems, life and professional experiences, as well as their personal interaction patterns to cope with large amounts of, at times, incomplete information. The result of these thought patterns and habits are sometimes unconscious cognitive distortions of our own perception or incorrect or incomplete self-assessments. Last but not least, this can contribute to the formation of stereotypes or prejudices.

Every person possesses unique cognitive patterns and processes, making exclusively objective decision-making an elusive deal. A key difference between cognitive perception and consideration processes and purely fact-based, objective deductions lies in their potential to take place unconsciously or even contrary to consciously formulated convictions. As a result, cognitive perceptions have a major influence on our actions. In common parlance, such phenomena are also referred to as blind spots or the effects of blind spots. In the context of the work of entrepreneurs and managers, this circumstance leads in practice to significant processes such as market approach, selection procedures, personnel decisions, or performance appraisals being unnoticeably influenced by unconscious distortions of perception or gaps in judgement.

For entrepreneurs and managers, it is not only the conscious handling of the risk associated with their own blind spots that plays an important role but also the active management of such constellations within the teams and the organisation. Those who can recognise and assess such phenomena in themselves and develop suitable measures to deal with them more consciously are also able to do the same for other people within the organisation.

Distinguishing between collective and personal perception

It is helpful for entrepreneurs and managers to know the difference between the manifestation of blind spots. They should be able to derive suitable measures to counteract the effects of blind spots sensibly and appropriately. It is almost impossible to completely eliminate blind spots and yet ignorance is definitely not an advisable approach.

​Blind spots in self-perception

We have all been able to observe in family members, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or superiors how strongly the self-perception of individuals can deviate from the perceptions held by those around them.

In connection with the blind spot, it is very typical that, on one hand, you are aware of the area in question or your own weakness, but on the other hand, there remains a relatively large discrepancy between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. These are personal weaknesses that do not disappear simply because they are identified. Blind spots can become dangerous in connection with management responsibility and decision-making authority with far-reaching consequences. Entrepreneurs and managers should therefore have functioning mechanisms for self-reflection as well as suitable cultural or organisational elements and skills.

​Mechanisms for self-reflection
Create awareness of one's subjectivity: Every person, whether positioned within an organisation or at its helm, should be aware that they can only be objective to a limited extent when assessing their own abilities and behavioural patterns. Everyone has their own personal GAP here. It will hardly be possible to eliminate this, but there are suitable instruments for bridging or compensating for such GAPs. This is what you should strive for, especially as a person with a high level of management responsibility.

There are various approaches to self-reflection, which depend very much on the respective personality profile and current circumstances. Self-reflection using a list of questions, or a simple catalogue of criteria is a solid and tried-and-tested method. If you define a standardised evaluation scale for this, you can very quickly achieve active and conscious self-reflection with measurable outcomes. The more unbiased and curious you approach this process, the greater the yield of results. It would not be surprising if this openness and impartiality already constituted a blind spot for some people.

Instruments for bridging the gap:

  1. Feedback:
    One of the most important instruments is feedback. Receiving and processing external images, opinions, and assessments from third parties is always associated with an increased degree of openness. Feedback as an aid to reflection should be well prepared and carried out very consciously. On one hand, one must adjust their own attitude, and their ego as well as specific sensitivities must be relativised. This may require a prior dry run or a certain form of mental preparation.

    To obtain useful and actionable feedback overall, the group of interviewees should be deliberately defined. Ideally, there should be five to a maximum of eight people with different positions or functions. These people should not just be fans, but also not just permanent critics, and there should be as much diversity as possible.

    Once the circle of participants has been defined, the procedure should be explained. In other words, the feedback providers concerned must understand why they are being asked to provide feedback and what criteria will be used to do so. These can be in the form of evaluation criteria, scales, or questions. It is crucial that the content can be analysed and measured effectively afterwards.

    Once feedback has been obtained, it must be evaluated. The more measurable the criteria or questions were, the easier and more objective the evaluation would be. It can also be helpful to carry out this evaluation together with a trusted person who can provide constructive feedback on the matter.

    In any case, assessors should be contacted if the evaluation is difficult or if problems of understanding arise. This not only secures the result but also serves to maintain effective relationships and increases the sustainability of the action.

    Finally, it’s important to remember to provide appropriate feedback to the assessor. This is not about sharing the results of the reflection, but rather a sincere thank you, possibly combined with a small gift as a token of appreciation.
  2. Cultural Elements:
    An open, value-based, and authentic corporate culture helps to counteract the potential negative effects of untreated blind spots. In such an environment, people from different positions and functions engage with constructive openness and treat each other with respect and honesty. Such an environment helps the entrepreneur or manager to recognise their own weaknesses, enabling them to address, bridge, or compensate for them within the organisation. Both this form of bridging and compensation do not in themselves represent a weakness or deficit. Well and effectively functioning organisations are also designed to mitigate individual blind spots, regardless of the person's position within the organisation. These cultural elements include the following of the 22 elements in Enterneering®:
    ​- System of values [🡕]
    - Tolerance [🡕]
    - Transparency [🡕]
    - Communication [🡕].

    A detailed discussion of these elements can be found in our Enterneering® guideline.
  3. Organisational Elements:
    ​In addition to the cultural elements for bridging or compensating for blind spots, some organisational elements contribute to more effectively addressing individual blind spots. These elements primarily involve structural or organisational aspects that help with orientation or force people to deal with content in a certain way. These organisational elements include the following two elements:
    - Strategy [🡕]
    - Governance [🡕].

    ​A detailed discussion of these elements can be found in our Enterneering® guideline.

We all have a blind spot and it’s shaped exactly like us.


Junot Díaz


​Blind spots in collective perception

It is not uncommon for the various blind spots of individuals in an organisation to be joined by collective blind spots. These can occur when ignorance, prejudices, or a lack of skills become ingrained within an organisation. This can lead to the entire organisation not being able to adequately recognise or correctly assess a certain situation. This is where entrepreneurs and managers are called upon, as it is solely up to them to address these deficits and create the appropriate framework conditions to reduce or ideally eliminate such developments. At this point, a clear reference must be made to applying Enterneering® in the company. It is precisely these measures that are needed to prevent collective blind spots.

Finally, the phenomenon of repression should be mentioned. We humans tend to suppress unpleasant, stressful, or critical situations initially. This form of repression is described, among other things, in the section on the 'Change' element [🡕] in our Enterneering® guide. It has a defined place and a dedicated meaning within the change curve. This is highly analogous to the concept of blind spots. Like the collective blind spots, the company management or the respective manager is also required to recognise displacement tendencies at an early stage and address them appropriately when there is a risk of displacement.


As with most topics related to Enterneering®, entrepreneurs and managers also need to have the necessary basic personal attitude, openness, and dedication to working ‘on’ the company when dealing with blind spots. Always be vigilant, listen carefully to other people within and around the company, and appreciate the intention behind feedback and any form of constructive feedback. Stay grounded despite all your personal or business successes. Do not overestimate your own personality and always maintain the awareness that fallibility is inherent, serving as a driving force for continuous personal development.

Important in connection with the treatment of blind spots are not only the above-mentioned elements in Enterneering® but also one of the main tasks of every entrepreneur: ensuring appropriate continuous change! The greatest potential danger from blind spots comes from inert, rigid habits and entrenched routines. The less change and innovation take place, the greater the potential areas for blind spots. This often means overcoming one's comfort zone, a topic dealt with in a separate article [🡕].


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