Are Foggy Lenses Limiting Your Business?
You never know what you might discern during a good father-daughter project. Here’s something that came to me in a recent project of my own.
In life and business we all can be impacted by foggy lenses.
In the early 1990’s the auto industry started switching from glass lens headlights to plastic lens covers. As car aerodynamics and body styles have continued to evolve, the molded plastic covers allow engineers to easily change designs and create molds that improve airflow and offer unique designs that differentiate one car from another. However, it did create a new challenge.
Foggy Oxidized Lens
As the parent of a driving teenager, our garage now has a “gently used, new to her” car in the 3rd bay. The car has good bones, but it also has its share of reminders that father time has been along for the ride during its previous life, in spite of the clean Car Fax report. One of those reminders is the oxidized hazy headlight lenses.
Auto detail shops know the initial concern from a value perception is the impact the cloudy headlights have on the cosmetic appearance of the car. But that is only part of the story and definitely not the part that is most important. The real danger, when a lens is too oxidized, is the amount of light that gets blocked by the fog or haze on the plastic. It can severely limit how far the lens can project light forward, even though the actual light bulb is putting out the same amount of light. A few years ago a Houston TV station did a story on this showing the difference in light at a distance of 175. It is pretty dramatic.
Here’s what it looked like with my daughter’s car:
The Foggy Lens of Business
Why do headlamps lose that crystal clear clarity they have when new? Though new lens have a sealer to protect them, those plastic lens are porous (and not as strong as glass). They are literally sandblasted daily by debris (sand, petroleum, chemicals, micro pieces of road debris) add UV rays into the mixture and slowly overtime the lens transitions from the new car crystal clear to dull and hazy.
In business (or in life) a similar process happens. We spend a lot of time challenging our clients to think strategically. To look out into the future and discern what they want that future business to look like and agree on a realistic plan that can get them there. This can be a real challenge for business owners, because the natural instinct is to keep their head down and focus on what is important the moment. Focus on what they can see now. They may have started with a crystal clear vision, but slowly overtime that lens has become so cloudy and hazy with the day to day challenges, they can no longer see their long term objective. And if they can’t see it, you know their employees, customers, and suppliers can’t see it.
It may be time to clean and restore the vision of your business…
Restoring Your Business Lenses
The good news is just as you can restore those foggy lenses on a car you can also restore the clarity and vision of your business. And, the process is similar.
Step 1: Start by taking an assessment to get clarity on where you are now. You can do this on your own or seek out a trusted advisor. You really can’t start moving forward until you get a clear understanding on where you are currently at and come to terms with it. It doesn’t matter how good or bad it is. It just is.
Step 2: Redefine your vision. Why did you get in business in the first place? What is it you are hoping to accomplish? Is there an end result? What will that look like? Forget about the current condition of the (business) headlamps regardless of how foggy or cloudy they are.
Step 3: Put together a plan that will allow you to start moving towards that new vision. But know that for you to achieve the vision you described in Step 2, you need to take your time and not cut corners. You can buy the most expensive headlamp restoration kit, but it will not produce the desired results if you don’t put the time and effort required into the process (in other words – installing it and keeping it clean).
Step 4: On-going Focus. Once the plan is in place and the vision is once again clear, implement an on-going program that helps maintain that renewed clarity. Think of it has routine maintenance or simply driving your car through the car wash a couple times a month.
What do you think? Do you know of a business that is dealing with foggy lenses? Are foggy lenses limiting the vision of your business? Do you think they even realize it or has it built up so slowly over time that no one even noticed? What about lens restoration kits? Have you ever used one? Do you have a favorite?
As always we value your comments in the space below.
Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach