Are invisible gorillas causing your business processes to fail?

Are Invisible Gorillas Causing Your Business Processes to Fail?

13-Apr-2018 12:43:19
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A study was conducted at the Harvard Medical School where a group of Radiologist were given several lung scans to examine. 83% of the radiologist didn’t see the gorilla that was embedded on the last scan. The study went further, and eye-movement data indicated that this group of radiologists didn’t see the gorilla even though they looked directly at it.

If a radiologist who is trained to identify minute anomalies can miss a waving gorilla, then imagine what you as a business owner are missing in your company…

Ever wonder why certain areas in your business just don’t perform the way you wish they could?

Perhaps you have paid large amounts towards consultancy services or lost vast sums of money because a process failed, but you still can’t identify the metaphoric gorilla that’s causing all the problems.

There are three things in your business that must work together and neglecting any one of them will result in the others falling flat. The key to your success begins with understanding these areas and dedicating your time and attention to improving them.

Digital Transformation People Processes and Technology

Let’s have a look at the components impacting each of the above.


Insufficient employee training

Quite frequently staff are not trained on how to use internal systems or what processes to follow. We simply expect our employees to know what is expected of them and to understand how the processes work. This is a good approach if you're trying to lose your customers in 10 ways.

I have often seen personnel appointed in positions that they have no experience in, which means they either have no clue what to do, or they don’t want to do the job (lack commitment).

Management’s perception

Those famous words: “We have always done it this way” or “When I used to do this... How could I (the business owner) get it right when we were a small team, but now it fails?”

If you have used any of those phrases, then unfortunately you are a part of the problem.

Don’t underestimate the importance of an executive sponsor. To succeed you need to acknowledge that your business has evolved; that capacity requirements have changed; and that technology and systems have advanced a great deal.

One fact that I have confirmed over time is that if your management team does not drive good governance and controls, you can spend all the money in the world on systems and process improvement, nothing will get better!


Relying on inadequate systems

When your systems are not adequate to support your business processes you will note the following:

  • People work around the system (avoid using it)
  • You don’t get the required outcome and delivery becomes inconsistent. In other words, your system does not have the minimum controls to enforce policy compliance
  • Staff are frustrated by the system, complain about it and become demotivated.
  • It takes employees a long time to deliver on client’s requests.


Outdated or poorly controlled business processes

Chances are that the processes your company follow today were implemented quite a few years ago. Perhaps some of the original controls got cut, because it felt like the they wasted time. This could be the cause of your control breakdown. Control weakness in a process can lead to theft, fraud, losses and inefficiencies. It is advisable to scrutinize and adapt your business processes at least every 12 months.

There are no quick fixes for any of these, it requires continuous change and commitment to improve your business, but the results are worth the effort.

Did you see the gorilla hiding in the crowd above?

In the original Invisible Gorilla Experiment a much higher percentage of experts noticed the gorilla compared to novices. If you are concerned that inattentional blindness is causing your company to suffer then it may be time to call in professionals.

Experiment reference


About Our Guest Writer

Christie Heath

Christie is a business mentor. She specialises in helping organisations to understand how process optimisation, risk management and strong governance can support their business growth and objectives. Follow @christie_heath on Twitter or connect with Christie on LinkedIn

“I believe business are like puzzles where process, people and systems have to fit together for the picture to make sense.” - Christie Heath

Topics: Guides and Resources, Digital Business Transformation