What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back Press Kit

About the Book

Far too many business leaders are using outdated practices to engage and motivate their people―and they’re failing miserably. From the author team that was focusing on workplace engagement before it was even a thing, comes a leadership book for the future.

What Are Your Blind Spots? helps leaders scrutinize their approach to leadership and figure out personal “blind spots”―the areas where style and methods are hampering success. It lists five key blind spots to watch out for:

  • Lacking the confidence and belief to put purpose at the center of your business strategy
  • Telling stories about your business that don’t resonate with those you lead
  • Using “selling” techniques to connect with people’s hearts and minds
  • Relying too much on rules and processes to steer human thought and behavior
  • Unknowingly creating a workplace culture where truth is rarely spoken

The authors provide a proven framework for developing a new approach to increase organizational innovation, productivity, and creativity, as people find real purpose in their work.

About the Authors

Jim Haudan is Co-Founder and Chairman of 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 Conference Board events.

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.

About Root, Inc.,: The world’s most respected organizations partner with Root Inc. to realize positive change. Root activates, motivates, and inspires people to accelerate the speed of change through a combination of disruptive methods, storytelling, and interactive experiences. Root’s process of defining the future, building an organizational movement, and creating lasting change is backed by proven research and has evolved over 25 years. A bold culture and international reputation for results has attracted two out of every three of the Fortune 50 to work with Root. Click to see the Root Inc. case studies.

Change starts at rootinc.com.

Relevant Stats:

We know that 60 to 90 percent of all strategies are not executed, 70 percent of people

in organizations are not actively engaged, and annually more than a half a trillion dollars’ worth of economic value is not realized in the United States alone as a result.

Studies show that 50 percent of the people are indifferent, 20 percent are actively disengaged or arsonists, and a mere 30 percent are actively engaged. What’s even worse is, according to Gallup’s annual employee engagement polls, there has been no significant movement in engagement scores in the last 30 years.

What Are Your Blind Spots? History:

Over the past 30 years, there has been no significant movement in engagement scores. That’s staggering. Think about it—during this same time we have seen dramatic changes in some of our most pressing social issues, like a reduction in cancer deaths and traffic fatalities, and a decline in smoking habits and consumption of highly sugared drinks.

We have made significant progress in many areas—but not in the way people show up to live the majority of their life at work! In the words of author Lisa Earl McLeod, “Work is competitive, work is hard, and work can be exhausting. But it shouldn’t be soul sucking awful.” Everyone should have the right to do work that is meaningful, engaging, and productive. And every leadership team should be obsessed with making that happen. Not just because it is the right thing to do. It is also simply smart business.

A decade ago, author Jim Haudan was one of the first to see the pressing issue of disengagement, and authored The Art of Engagement: Bridging the Gap Between People and PossibilitiesWhat Are Your Blind Spots? goes further by tackling the old assumptions that are standing in the way of change.


Inc.com (Haudan as a frequent contributor)

Business2Community (Haudan as a regular contributor)


Fast Company


Author Q and A

Q: Why write this book?

A: After 20-plus years of working with over 850 global companies, and having touched over 10 million people in those companies, it is our strong conviction that a set of leadership blind spots accounts for the difference between those who get it and have great, thriving, and growing workplaces—and those who don’t.

Just think of it: what if we did not have workplaces where 30 percent are actively in the game and 70 percent are indifferent or worse, but where those numbers were reversed? Think of the tremendous potential for innovation, collaboration, and finding new ways of serving the customer. The energy, positivity, and goodwill of a highly engaged team create an almost unstoppable force. If we are able to do that, think of the benefit we create even beyond more profitable and thriving enterprises. We create a more enlightened world with better organizations, where people are striving to be at their best rather than just trying to get through the day.

Q: Why do you say this disengagement crisis isn’t the workers’ fault, it’s the leaders?

A: Most professionals don’t wake up each day and say, “I can’t wait to not make a difference today,” “I am indifferent about what we do as a company. Just pay me,” or “My goal for the next year is to be extraordinarily average!” The great majority of us don’t want to think this way about the place where we spend more time than anywhere else in life—and yet way too many of us feel that way.

While all employees should own their engagement, the truth is that the tone, conditions, and environment in which those same employees could thrive or become disengaged is set by leaders. Change has to start with leaders, and it has to be about owning and creating the conditions for high engagement and high performance. Yet leaders often don’t know how to create those conditions, or worse, they don’t fully believe in the importance of creating those conditions.

Q: What is a “blind spot”?

A: Traditionally the phrase “blind spot” refers to a part of the retina that is insensitive to light, which results in an actual spot in the eye where a person can’t see. “Blind spot” is a phrase used when the side mirrors of a car create a space to the left and right side of your vehicle where you can’t see cars passing or driving next to you.

Just as we have visual blind spots and societal blind spots, we have found in our 20-plus years of working with many of the largest companies across all industries around the world that there are leadership blind spots. We define leadership blind spots as areas where our existing beliefs and experiences preclude us from having the most enlightened view of how to lead most effectively.

But you can overcome a particular blind spot. Our point in this book is that there are a series of leadership blind spots that cloud how we lead and run organizations and the people in our organizations.

Q: How did you determine the five blind spots?

A: We have a team of master’s- and doctoral-level researchers at our organization, Root, whose sole job is to conduct quantitative and qualitative research. They help organizations uncover blind spots on all kinds of people-related issues, from the most important touchpoints that shape a great client experience to the leadership behaviors that support a desired culture. We sat down with that team and worked through the core drivers that create the five leadership blind spots that appear in this book. Based on this data, we created for the book a ten-minute assessment that provides a snapshot of the strengths and weaknesses that may exist within one’s organization as they relate to these leadership blind spots.

Q: In the book, you liken these blind spots to antiquated practices like giving a baby a sugary soft drink or using cough drops laced with cocaine. How are they related?

A: We highlighted several shocking practices from the past that seem just too outrageous to be true—practices such as giving kids cocaine drops after a dental appointment, doctors advertising the health benefits of smoking, or a soda company advocating for the practice of lacing your baby formula with a carbonated soft drink. They really happened, and many of today’s common leadership practices are just as out of date when it comes to our overall approach to tapping the dormant talent and spirit of our people. It’s time to help free leaders from some of their long-held and no longer relevant beliefs regarding human nature in the workplace. We hope this book helps people reconsider their assumptions, mindset, and leadership practices.

Other Suggested Interview Questions:

  1. Why do you believe there is an engagement crisis in our country?
  2. What are common mistakes that leaders make (that’s fueling this crisis)?
  3. How can leaders connect with their people—and why should they?
  4. You’ve worked with successful organizations like Hampton Inn and Starbucks. What are some success secrets of these high-performing organizations?
  5. What’s the common thread that runs through the book’s five blind spots?
  6. You talk a bit about the evil of PowerPoint. What’s wrong with presentations?
  7. Why is purpose more important to an organization’s success than numbers?
  8. How can leaders toe the line between having standards and giving employees freedom?
  9. Why do many leaders incorrectly believe their people trust them?
  10. How can a leader tell if they’re a good or bad one?

Chapter Names


Chapter 1: Leadership Blind Spot #1: Purpose

Chapter 2: Leadership Blind Spot #2: Story

Chapter 3: Leadership Blind Spot #3: Engagement

Chapter 4: Leadership Blind Spot #4: Trust

Chapter 5: Leadership Blind Spot #5: Truth

Chapter 6: Assessing your Leadership Blind Spots and Lessons Learned

Paperback: 192 pages, $24 for hardback; $22.80 for kindle

Publisher: McGraw Hill Education (October 5, 2018)

ISBN-10: 1260129233

ISBN-13: 978-1260129236

Available on Amazon