Would you notice if a man in a gorilla suit walked past you?
That was the question Harvard researchers wanted to ask with their famous Gorilla experiment.
This is the gist for those that aren’t familar:
* Researchers instructed participants to count the number of times 3 players in white passed a basketball. The opposing team also passed a ball, but they were in blue. The participants were told to ignore them.
* At some point, a gorilla walks the length of the court, stopping for some time in the middle to beat his chest.
At the end of the exercise, participants were asked how many times the white players passed the ball and if they noticed anything peculiar. All participants accurately recounted how many times the ball was passed, but only 50% noted ever seeing the gorilla.
Which to the rational brain seems almost impossible. How could anyone miss a blatant distraction like a man dressed in a gorilla’s suit beating his chest in the middle of the playing area?
Yet it happened.
As participants re-watch the video, those who didn’t notice the gorilla are in disbelief. The second time around, they couldn’t see anything BUT the gorilla.
Running a business is much the same. It’s so easy to get distracted by the details in the business that you miss the big picture — or in this case, the giant gorilla.
When it comes to your business, there are three of them — everything else is a mere distraction.
In order of importance, you’ve got:
1. Customer Experience
Anything and everything else should play second fiddle to these three things.
This brings me to a confession.
For the last two months, we’ve been ignoring a gorilla.
Now, I’m AA’s harshest critic, so take that with a grain of salt.
But the issues we’ve been having have all stemmed from things slipping with the customer experience.
Now in our defence, when you have 330 athletes with complex injuries, complicated programs, a more involved experience than the vast majority of gyms, and lots of moving parts, things will slip… no doubt.
And perhaps more importantly — our Head of Medical and Head of Performance were away — they’ve been flying the flag overseas at the Rugby Union and League World Cups.
But because our standard is excellence, I treat any slip as a fall. My wife says it’s unhealthy but I am who I am.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The first step in dealing with these three hairy gorillas is acknowledging their existence in the first place.
And that’s the beauty of business.
You’re only a moment away from redirecting your attention back to what matters.
So next time you feel like you’re losing your way, go back to these three things.
99% of the time, you’ll find the answers you seek.
– Karl Goodman