Preview Thursday: Blind Spots

Authors Jim Haudan and Rich Berens identify the five most common leadership blind spots that hamper success: Purpose, Story, Engagement, Trust, and Truth in their new book: What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that  Leaders Back.

They take you straight into the board room of well-known leadership teams to illustrate how these blind spots play out and the impact they have on organizations. The following excerpt is from What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back by Jim Haudan and Rich Berens, launching October 5th.


Change Starts with Our Beliefs

Many of our current beliefs about how organizations should run date back to the Industrial Age! In his book Why We Work, Barry Schwartz explains that many of our thoughts about work, and the role of employees, have been shaped by none other than Adam Smith, the famed eighteenth-century economist, philosopher, and author of The Wealth of Nations.

Smith’s work has been instrumental in how we think about and run our businesses, and much of it has been taught in business schools as foundational knowledge since their inception. Smith wrote: “It is in the inherent interest of every man to live as much at his ease as he can; and if his emoluments are to be precisely the same whether he does or does not perform some very laborious duty, to perform it in as careless and slovenly a manner that authority will permit.”

In a nutshell, the core belief established here is that people’s primary, if not sole, motivation for working is . . . money. And people will do as little work as they can possibly get away with in order to get that money. While this is not the most desirable state of mind from a human perspective, it worked reasonably well in the Industrial Age where division of labor into smaller, repeatable activities was the way to be the most productive.

Today we are well past the Industrial Age; we are somewhere between an information age and an experience economy. People still care as much as ever that they get paid and that they get paid as well as they can. But we also know that people are motivated by being a part of something larger than themselves, by feeling a sense of belonging and connectivity, and by knowing that their contributions make a difference. Yet many of the beliefs from the Industrial Age about how to run companies and how to treat people have stuck with us. And while many leaders intellectually understand the difference, we time and time again see beliefs, habits, and practices that are remnants of the old way of leading. It seems that 200+ years of habits are hard to break!

It’s time to help free leaders from some of their long-held and no longer relevant beliefs regarding human nature in the workplace. The leadership blind spots that we will learn about throughout the book are destructive forces that work against engaging the workforce, creating results, and effectively competing in today’s world—and are remnants from an era that has long come and gone.



Jim Haudan is Co-Founder and Chairman of Root Inc. Root Inc., the organizational change expert on helping companies create leadership alignment, execute strategies and change successful, build employee engagement, and transform businesses. He is a sought-after business presenter who has spoken at TEDx BGSU, Tampa TEDx, and The Conference Board. His latest book, What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back is co-authored with Rich Berens is CEO and Chief Client Fanatic of Root Inc. The book equips readers with the tools needed for a personal leadership reset. You’ll discover how to increase engagement, productivity, and growth in your own organization.



Rich Berens is CEO and Chief Client Fanatic of Root Inc., and has helped align leaders at Global 2000 organizations to drive strategic and cultural change at scale. He is a noted speaker on the issues of, transformation, and how to create lasting change and has authored articles for numerous publications and blogs. Under Rich’s leadership, Root has been listed among the Great Place to Work® Institute’s top 25 places to work, been named to the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list, and experienced 10 years of consecutive growth. His latest book, What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back is co-authored with Jim Haudan is Co-Founder and Chairman of Root Inc.