When You Wear a Blindfold, You Cannot See

I know that “when you wear a blindfold you cannot see” is one of those seemingly obvious truths, like “the heat was hot” (the band America) or “water is wet” (a preschool teacher).

You would never intentionally blindfold yourself while driving a car, or while performing any other activity that requires your vision.

By Sergeant Tracee L. Jackson – II Marine Expeditionary Force / United States Marine Corps (Photo ID: 200572693429), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23006576

But when we conduct business, do we unintentionally blindfold ourselves when we don’t focus on our customers’ needs?

The client who lost $100 million

Sometimes we are oblivious of our own actions.

Ali Al-Faraj wrote a LinkedIn post about the importance of cultural awareness. He started the post as follows:

I had a client who lost a $100M investment–

Because of slamming his hand on a table.

From https://www.linkedin.com/posts/alfaraj_i-had-a-client-who-lost-a-100m-investment-activity-7042162614579163137-VyDr/

Al-Faraq’s client was a “hardcore” American salesperson who was presenting to a Middle Eastern investment firm. His hardcore presentation didn’t go well, especially when he started slamming his hand on the table.

To see how the investment firm reacted, see the original post. (Although I guess you already figured out that the client didn’t get the money. Al-Faraq didn’t bury the lede.)

What the client did BEFORE he slammed his hand on the table

But when I read Al-Faraq’s description of the meeting, I realized that his client lost his audience long before the client pounded the table. Al-Faraq’s post includes this key sentence.

He dove into the presentation.

From https://www.linkedin.com/posts/alfaraj_i-had-a-client-who-lost-a-100m-investment-activity-7042162614579163137-VyDr/

Middle Easterners value cultivating relationships. In fact, this source asserts that “[i]nitial meetings are all about relationship building.” Diving into a presentation during the first meeting before your audience knows about you is understandably upsetting.

But this is not limited to business with Middle Easterners.

Diving into a presentation without understanding your audience is a serious mistake in any culture.

The Work Lady does her homework

Many years ago, before Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility were formed, there was one Motorola. And one year when I was at Motorola, our Biometric User’s Conference engaged Jan McInnis, The Work Lady, as one of our speakers.

When she spoke at our conference, McInnis did not just dive into her morning presentation unprepared. Before her session, she spent some time with the conference organizers and asked questions about her audience, so that she could understand them better and why this “AFIS” thing was so important to these people.

She didn’t just do that for us. It’s a standard part of her process.

Prior to the event, Jan has a conference call with your conference committee to incorporate specific challenges your group is facing into her keynote!

From https://theworklady.com/

Her homework makes all the difference for her audiences.

Focus on the customer

McInnis, Al-Faraq, and many of you understand that to have success with a customer, you have to understand the customer. As Ali Al-Faraq says: “Knowing your audience is key!”

Don’t intentionally blindfold yourself before approaching your customer.

Read Mike French’s “Why agencies should conduct their own AFIS benchmarks rather than relying on others.”

Today my content calendar says that I’m supposed to be posting about social media, so I’m going to discuss a LinkedIn article. That fits, doesn’t it?

Seriously, Mike French has posted his long-awaited (by me, anyway) article on the need for automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) benchmarks. And his perspective is valuable.

People enter the AFIS industry in different ways. I entered the industry as a writer, and therefore needed some time to master the forensic and technical concepts. Mike came from the forensic disciplines, having worked in the Latent Print Unit at the King County Sheriff’s Office before joining Sagem Morpho, which became MorphoTrak, which became IDEMIA Identity & Security N.A.

Because of this background, Mike obviously has an appreciation for a law enforcement agency’s forensic requirements, and why it is important for the agency to conduct its own benchmark of AFIS vendors. As Mike notes, more and more agencies are choosing to rely on independent measurements based on test data. This may not be the best course for an agency.

But go read Mike’s words yourself.