“Willful Blindness” in a business is the conscious act of avoiding the truth, which gives credence to the knowledge of an issue in question, but never resolving the issue.
Willful blindness can be at any level of management or on any type of business issue that needs to be addressed and resolved.
A business’s willful blindness can be issues such as:
- Operations – failure to quickly address and make changes in how a business operates.
- Product line – failure to revise product lines and cutting slow selling product lines.
- Cash management – owners “bleeding” a business out of cash that a business needs to operate.
- Leverage – a business has borrowed too much money and has problems servicing the debt.
- Business metrics – the false assumption that there is no need to have a set of business metrics that guide and judge a business’s internal performance.
- Capital investment – failure to upgrade facilities and technology with the rationale that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
- Inventory – failure to sell obsolete and slow-moving inventory even at a loss.
- Human Resources – failure to address employee performance issues, especially the progressive discipline of long term, underperforming employees than have gone beyond their expertise and knowledge levels, but still keep getting by.
- Ownership – failure to face the reality that you are an absentee owner.
- Strategic planning – failure to have any type of strategic or business plan for the future, so the business is “rudderless” with no direction.
Willful blindness often leads to reactionary and poor business decisions which can lead to business failure.
To correct willful blindness ownership and management need to walk in the front door of the business and start to address their business issues now.