A few weeks ago, I took my car in for a routine service to the Lincoln service centre. Everything went as normal, I waited while the technician looked over the car… and suddenly he calls me over. The car is up on the rack, and he’s standing underneath with a flashlight in his hands.
He points and says “there’s a leak you need to look at.” I look up, but can’t see anything. He points to it, I still can’t see it. I’m thinking he’s trying to get me to agree to an unnecessary fix, but he then says, “You see this pipe? OK, follow it all the way up, till where it joins the pump. You see that? Now, look at the joint? You see that shine? That’s a leak.
And I was shocked. From the beginning, I was looking exactly where we was pointing to - but didn’t see what he saw. The metal bit was shiny, I didn’t think too much of it. Turns out, it was shiny because of a leak, and that’s not what I picked up. It was not urgent, but it would need to be sorted within 6-8 months. He gave me the options, I made a decision, and it was all sorted. But what if he hadn’t noticed it? What if I had continued driving the car as normal, and suddenly had a disaster while on the highway? I’d probably have chalked it up to bad luck, but in reality, it was the skill of the technician that picked out the problem while it was still small.
In business, it’s often the same. The failures don’t happen because of a large, unavoidable occurrence; rather, they happen because a small, easy-to-miss detail was overlooked. A mistake in how something is priced. A drop in performance. A broken link on the website. Over time, these leaks add up to large-scale challenges and losses.

The question, therefore, is: how do you spot the leaks?
There are three things I’d propose you do regularly. 

First: Get your metrics in place

It amazes me how few businesses have a solid set of KPIs in place that help them gauge the health of their business in real time. Sure, the car had a leak - but the dashboard was working fine. Day-to-day, I would not have been caught unaware. Too many businesses are being driven on ‘gut-feel’ and intuition, and not enough reliance on the data. If you need this in your business, click here to read our guide on 5 Critical Keys to Setting Powerful KPI's.

Secondly: Keep your accountant close

After (or even equal to!)the CEO, the most important person in monitoring the health of the business is the person in charge of Finance. The language of business is numbers, and the more fluent you are, the better you can tell what is going on. Anyone can look at a red line and say things are wrong, you need someone who can spot a shine where there shouldn’t be, and diagnose a problem. If your accountant isn’t telling you what’s wrong, they aren’t the right accountant for you! You don’t need - and shouldn’t want! - a “yes man”. You need someone who will tell you what isn’t working, the problems you’ll face, and suggestions to fix them.

Thirdly: Change your perspective

It’s really hard to see the forest for the trees. When you’re too close to the matter, it becomes exceedingly difficult to get a macro view. That’s when it’s important to work with someone who can force a perspective change. Your business coach should be able to show you how to look at your business differently, and who can see the field from a different angle to yours. We all have blind spots, and getting an external pair of eyes will minimise the chances that you’ll be blindsided. If you want to see what the benefits can be, or you’re ready to move faster than you’ve gone before, click here to get in touch. Our Solutions Expert will get in touch, and arrange a short call with our award-winning Coach team.

About the author

Murtaza Manji
Business Strategy & Leadership Coach
Entrepreneur, award-winning business strategy coach, and international speaker, Murtaza Manji is the co-founder of Kaizen Consulting Group which he set up in the UK in 2011 before expanding to the UAE and the USA. The company has evolved significantly over the years with ambitious plans to expand further. His vision is to positively impact the countries the Group operates in by supporting clients to create lasting values and legacies.

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Murtaza Manji - Managing Partner of Kaizen Business Consulting Group Dubai
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