Perception is reality

In almost any walk of life, it does not matter what you think. What matters is what the observer perceives.

Gustave Flaubert said “There is no truth. There is only perception”

If you are in any doubt just ask any politician!

If your team think you are likely to react badly to certain types of news or information, they will hesitate to share it. You’ll be left in the dark, and perhaps get a nasty surprise when it is too late to do anything about it.

If your suppliers think you don’t value their efforts, they are less likely to help out when you need that order expedited.

If your customers think you don’t care about them – the reality is the perception – you don’t care – or at least not enough.

I’m reminded of the Robert Burns poem, To a Louse, part of which is

And would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us

You can avoid a lot of problems by asking how am I/ we being perceived, through employee surveys and customer surveys.

You can gain even more insight from exit interviews with staff who are leaving, and from former customers who are now buying elsewhere.

Ask your suppliers how they rate you as a customer.

Just asking the questions is a really good start. People love to be asked for their opinion, and making the effort to give them the opportunity will be beneficial.

Structured questioning, where you aim to uncover opinion in particular areas will sometimes provide greater knowledge but always allow for free-format comments.

You may think your business is the best thing since sliced bread, but what you think does not matter.

All that matters is what others think.


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