It was an innocent enough question, I thought.

My friend Val and I were talking about life at his new job. “What has most surprised you?” I inquired.

He then began to cite some things that I couldn’t have predicted. He saw things through new eyes; a fresh perspective, not yet tainted by personalities, biases, and heuristics.

“The longer you’ve served where you are and the longer you’ve done what you are currently doing, the more difficult if will be for you to see your environments with the objectivity need to make the changes that need to be made. The shorter version: Time in erodes awareness of.”

Andy Stanley, “Deep and Wide”

I know of a station that was excited to show to show off their promotional van’s new colorful logo design. After one such event I asked the promotions person if those at the event were aware of the station. She replied,

“No. They think I’m selling fish.”

We’re consumed with ourselves. “The Curse of Knowledge” puts us in a position where we can’t even comprehend what it is like to NOT know what we know. It’s that “imagine the world without the color blue” thing. We can’t.

So? What can we do?

  1. Imagine you’re a new listener. (We can’t really, but let’s play like). Is your station communicating only to insiders, or can a new listener play along?
  2. Ask lots of questions of the new folks you hire. Like focus groups, you’re not really looking for answers or solutions but rather seeking fresh perspectives.
  3. Build a relationship with a trusted outsider, one who can be objective about your situation and understands the principles of success for your particular situation.
  4. Invest in research. Every dollar invested in growth is disproportionally more valuable than investing in the status quo. (Growth investments: marketing, research, outside resources, are often the first things cut from a budget, and we wonder why we don’t grow). It’s your road map for a better tomorrow.

*Thanks to my new friend Val Carolin for inspiring this Frost Advisory.