pad-e1362259300102“Who’s older, you or your brother?” My brother Jeff is 15 months younger than I, has more hair with much less gray. I’ve never quite understood why the question gets asked, yet it does. Frequently.

“I’m older, but far less mature.”  My standard response is weak, I know, but who wants to talk about being older?

A couple weeks ago a young professional (late twenties) commented on my leather padfolio. “That’s a classic,” he said, or something to that effect. Yikes. I bought it 25 years ago because I knew it would last. It has.

I’m used to that padfolio. It’s comfortable. But I really hadn’t considered the impression it might leave on others. It was a blind spot for me. It’s on the shelf now—for office use only. I don’t want to be “classic.” Not yet.

“Classic” is a mindset–a choice. Some of my best friends read newspapers, have AOL accounts, and use Daytimers. It’s okay with me. They are most likely to hear from me by phone. Others receive emails, and some I send text messages. Communication is only effective if the intended recipient receives the message.

Like Bob Killian, I do my best to adapt to current conditions, and I’m on the lookout for my blind spots.

It’s just my opinion, but those with more “classic” mind sets seem to be more vulnerable to blind spots. If you tend toward the “classic,” one of your blind spots could be assuming that your business is free of substance abusers. Maybe you ought to find out for sure.

If you have employees with substance abuse problems, they are costing you money.  Nationally, 8.4% of all full-time employees are illicit drug users and 87% of them work for businesses of fewer than 500 employees*. On average, they cost employers $6600 per year in lost productivity, absenteeism, errors and workers comp claims. Some estimates are as high as $25,000. That’s a pretty big price to pay if you don’t know for sure.


*Sources: 2010 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health and US Department of Labor Building Blocks for a Drug-Free Workplace