Are you looking in a mirror or out the window?


The other day I was watching the news and there were a number of stories about the protests to the stay-at-home orders across the country. In listening to their views I clearly heard a real time example of the windows versus the mirror syndrome. I clearly heard people who cold not or did not want to see the bigger picture if you will. They were more willing to view the world from a mirror perspective. They were more than willing to view the world not as it is but as they saw it. There is a direct applicability to the TLS Continuum.

In order to achieve sustainable process improvement, you must begin with a clear picture of what it is you do. For time immortal, we have been coaching our human capital assets to refine their capabilities into an elevator speech. You all have experienced them at various networking events where when you ask someone what it is they do they respond with this short description of who they are. One recent example I came across was the response that “I am an information analyst, I solve problems you don’t know you have in ways you can’t understand.” This the mirror approach to the organizational view of the world. It is the wording of your organizational mission. It is the wording of your value statement. But the real question is does it answer the real issue at hand. That being what is it that is a problem?

While all the value statements and mission statements in the world are good they do not really answer that question. To switch from viewing the mirror image of ourselves to the window view of the world we need to change the focus. We need to change the strategy. What we really do is not found in the above statements. It is found in the voice of the customer. Why do our stakeholders come to us? What is it that we do that enhances the stakeholder in the marketplace? These are the window statements.

The beginning of the improvement process is determining what it is we do. It determines what the customer is asking of us, how they want it, when they want it and at what cost. Our response must be coached in those terms. The same applies whether we are talking about a business, a service provider or an educational institution. So looking back at the protestors, they are telling us that their mirror image is that I need to get out, I can’t stay locked up in my home.

The window view of the world provides the picture of the view of the current state of the organization. It tells us how we are responding to the customer requests. It tells us whether our processes and systems are functioning at the maximum level. It provides the basis for the next part of the TLS Continuum series-that of determining the gaps between what we do and what the customer wants. The window view provides insight into global workplace and our roles in it. Our response can’t be nebulous like the Information Analyst’s elevator speech. It needs to be point specific as to what the benefits of your organization is to the customer base. If the protestors were looking at this from a window view they would understand the perils of going out too early and risk spreading this virus further.

Take a moment a truly think about your organization and the message you deliver every day to both internal and external customers. Is it grounded in the mirror view or is it grounded in the window view? Drop me a message at and let me know which view you are grounded in? Are you telling the marketplace that this is what we do based on the way you view your role in the marketplace or based on what the customer needs from you from their perspective?