As many of you know, as well as being a service excellence consultant and coach, I’m also a practicing artist. Often, people are surprised by that and ask if “studying art” had been a waste of time. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only did studying art teach me how to think creatively and solve problems, it taught me the importance of what I call, ‘practicing seeing’. As adults, most of the time, although our eyes are open, we’re not actually ‘seeing’ what’s right in front of us. We’re distracted by our inner thoughts – or external interruptions – and miss what’s really going on. Or, we ‘assume’ that because we’ve ‘seen’ something a million times, we know what it’s all about. Problem is, in our complex and complicated world, things change quickly. And if we’re not paying attention – and really looking – we’re certainly going to miss ‘seeing’ the new and different things that our customers might need and want. The best way I’ve found to avoid this is to ‘practice seeing’: spend 15 minutes a day watching how a process is done and ‘draw’ it out; or take a walk, sit on a bench and ‘sketch’ what you see! Might seem strange at first, but once you get used to and it becomes a habit, you’ll ‘see’ for yourself just how valuable ‘practicing seeing’ is.

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