Do you know your blind spots? Use the Johari Window for a fresh look at customer insights

Blind spotAs you are planning where to take your brand of product in 2016, there’s probably reams of customer insights – from surveys, interviews, focus group, emails, Net promoter verbatim feedback to look at. I have found that using the Johari Window to classify customer insights can offer surprisingly actionable results.

The Johari Window

The Johari Window, developed in 1955 by American Psychologists by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, (hence the name Johari), has long been used in leadership development. In a nutshell, it classifies what you know about yourself and what others know about you into a 2X2 framework.

  • Open or Arena: Known to yourself and others
  • Blind Spot: Known to others but not you
  • Façade: Known to you but not others
  • Unknown: Not known to you and others

The goal is to increase the size of the ‘Open’ quadrant in relation to other 3 – facilitating open communication (Links below for more information on the tool itself)

Johari Window

Adapting the Johari Window for Customer Insights

When applied to customer insights, we change the self to your company or team and the others to customers.  The framework then looks like:

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 11.03.07 AM

Here’s what to do with each area:


This is what is already known to both the broader team within your company and to your customers. Note that this includes strengths and weaknesses. Its good to do a quick check on 2 dimensions:

  • What can we build on? How?
  • Do we have initiatives in place to address the negatives? Which ones do we need to address?

Blind Spot

The word blind spot often has a negative connotation, but in the Johari Window what’s known to your customers but not to your company can be a gold mine for ideas.

  • Are there any positives we did not know about? Any positioning product opportunities that we can leverage? For example, customers may be using your product for a need you did not know about.
  • Any positioning ideas? For example, your customers might be raving about your customer service, but you have never included it in your sales pitch.
  • What are the improvement areas I did not know about? What are the action items?


What’s known to you about your product or brand but not to others. This might bring both relief and opportunity. Check for –

  • Are there anything (product features for example) you considered high priority but are not bothering or being used by your customers at all? If so, do you need to reallocate your resources?
  • Are there any aspects of your brand or your product that you need to communicate more?
  • What’s the ticking time bomb – known to you but not to your customers, that you can proactively address?


Look over the objectives you had for your customer insights work. Discuss your roadmap and strategic initiatives and what’s on the framework already. What’s unknown? What do you need explore more and how?

At the end of this exercise you should have a Blueprint or action plan that spans all customer insights.  Let me know your thoughts on the comments below.

Step by Step Methodology to Adapt the Johari Window for Customer Insights

This can be done as a team brainstorming exercise or for your own analysis.

  1. Get all the verbatims, insights, survey scores and other customer feedback together. Also include any objectives you had set out for your customer insights exercises.
  2. Then create a list – team members can do it individually or you may pull it together from product or pitch documents – on what you think are the key features or descriptors or benefits behind your brand. Add in what you think are the biggest weaknesses or risks.
  3. Using sticky notes and flip charts, good old pen and paper or the much less effective powerpoint and bullet points, create your Johari Framework using ‘Known to company’ as a proxy for ‘Known to self’.
  4. Assign quadrants to different aspects/elements of your customer feedback. Note that each quadrant can have positive or negative descriptors. It is crucial not to be defensive at this stage (oh I should have known about this). The classification should be based on what is broadly known to your organization and not on what only one person in the organization
  5. Repeat the exercise the list of descriptors from your own team.
  6. Create a Blueprint of next steps for each of the quadrants. (see questions above

Thoughts? Questions?  I would love to hear from you. If you enjoyed this article, I would love to hear from you.