As it appeared in the Daily Nation on February 25th 2020
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu
The world of business is a complex one. This complexity emanates from both the internal and external environments within which businesses operate. Business leaders need to find ways of dealing with the challenges resulting from these complexities. Smart business leaders are on the lookout for the best solutions to everyday challenges. Many wholeheartedly take up the huge responsibility of steering their companies forward despite the hitches expected along the way. This cannot be said of every business leader. Many business leaders and owners are wallowing in a sea of ignorance. Unaware of the alternatives that exist to build strong businesses, survival becomes their only motivation. In life, some ignorance could be a bliss. However, in business, ignorance is certainly not bliss; business leaders are better off knowing the truth and gaining the freedom to do what must be done.
Ignorance or lack of knowledge about businesses and their operations can be detrimental. It is obvious that many factors influence business success or lead to failure. In several businesses that I have interacted with, it is obvious that lack of a clear vision is the main hindrance to progress. In others, culture is holding the business hostage. Others in business lack a good understanding of their customers and their needs. There are also those businesses that have completely been unable to put together a team able to run the business professionally. Many other business leaders are unaware of what is happening inside their businesses and in their surroundings. This can be intentional or unintentional. In both cases, this is ignorance in action. When business leaders remain unaware of what is holding them back, it becomes a major setback.
Quite often, pride makes us remain ignorant. We assume that we know even when we do not. Many proud business leaders choose not to dig up for the facts. This makes it difficult to have a true picture of what is going on in their businesses. It also becomes tough to make decisions that could help solve the challenges faced. For example, when we disregard the external environment, we fail to see the changes happening in the outside. Customers move on and we choose not to notice. We lose our best staff to the competition and ignore the fact. Technology becomes obsolete and we continue insisting on using it. We fail to comply with the regulatory authorities and ignore the repercussions until it is too late. There are very few situations where ignorance makes the business better. Recognizing the truth sets us free.
Ignorance keeps many business owners and leaders away from learning and action. Failing to learn results to limited knowledge about the complexity of business and its continuous interaction with the environment. Failure to act means more and bigger challenges. Believing that we know when we do not or disregarding new information can be detrimental to our businesses. Smart business leaders can create a better future if they become more aware of themselves and the environment in which their businesses operate. Let us actively fight ignorance, let us seek awareness, and let us take action. In business, ignorance is not bliss!
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy