One of the things we try to do at Broad Insights is begin by diagnosing situations. I was working with a hog farmer up in Ohio, and I wanted to take the time to have him walk me through his process. So we started with the small piglets and sows, followed through to the weaned pigs, and so on. I walked through all the barns, and I had all this gear on to make sure I didn’t contaminate anything (they have to be very careful of diseases). When we got to the end of all those barns, I turned to the farmer and said, “Ed, do you ever get used to the odor?” He looked at me quizzically and said, “What odor?” Of course, that made us both laugh.
I got to thinking about that, and I thought about how we all get used to our culture, our environment. Our organizations may not have anything quite as pungent as the odor of a hog farm, but I think we do get used to the culture and don’t challenge the norm like we should. We lose the ability to see things with new eyes, or with a critical eye. Our coaches challenge leaders to do their best to step out of their culture—sometimes it takes a third party to help!—and ask, “What are we really doing here? What needs to change and improve?” Don’t let yourself or your organization become immune to the smell of things going wrong.
–Jim Wiginton is the founder and managing partner of Broad Insights, an international business coaching firm based in Greenville, South Carolina. Jim possesses a wealth of business expertise, much of it gained as an executive for Michelin North America, Plastic Omnium, and Alfmeier Corporation. He has more than 5,000 hours of coaching experience, and a Doctorate of Business Administration from Paris School of Business.