Thursday, August 19, 2010

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Imagine you are on a bus. Say this bus gets a flat tire. The driver calls in and the office tells him, he needs to make the timeline, so the bus driver pulls over and attaches a portable compressor to fill the tire and he drives on. A few feet down the road, the compressor breaks, and the driver calls into the office again. This time, the office states, that he must meet his schedule, keep going. So the bus driver, wanting to get to his final destination, keeps driving. Eventually, the wheel comes off while driving and the bus flips, killing the driver and all of the passengers.

At the bus driver's funeral, a representative from the office gives a glowing eulogy stating that the bus driver should be recognized for trying to make his schedule! The office staff felt good because they recognized the bus driver. His widow spat in their faces. Confused, they asked, why did you do that? We recognized him for following our direction! You should be proud! They really didn't understand why she was so upset.

Do you know why the widow was so upset? Who benefited from this situation? The bus driver died. The passengers died. The timeline wasn't met. The bus company lost a bus (and will probably be sued). The driver should have actually got recognized for blind stupidity! Following orders that compromised the safety of his passengers!

This is a parable on corporate life. A few words of advice:

1) If in a crisis situation and everyone is in reactionary mode, Don't join them! Plan your next steps and everyone will be better!

2) If everyone is in planning mode, but nothing seems to be getting done, execute your plans! The only thing worse than executing without a plan is planning without execution. They go hand in hand!

3) Don't take the bus!