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You have to slow down to speed up
Life Cheat Code #2.
It was my fault that our spaceship crashed into the meteor. My crew met a firey demise because they followed my lead.
Don’t worry. The crash wasn’t real. I’m not a spaceship captain. You knew that.
It was a simulation in a management training off-site. The all-knowing, tall, bald “right out of central casting” consultant was teaching us an important management lesson. (At the expense of my heroic crew.)
He put a hula hoop on the ground. There were seven people on my team. He gave the directions:
All seven of you must connect your bodies both on the left and right sides in order for you to survive.
You have sixty seconds to come up with a solution to avoid certain doom.
You may ask one question.
The clock starts ticking. The stress begins to mount. The consultant is banging on the table. The other teams are making loud explosion noises. One guy found a cymbal in the back room and is making metallic clashing sounds. Outside, a lawn mower is adding to the cacophony of chaos.
We need to do something fast, or we are goners. I have a headache. My mouth is dry. Everyone is looking at me. I must move fast.
My one question is, “Does the solution include a circle?” In retrospect, that was pretty obvious.
The Consultant answers, “Yes.”
I think. There are seven of us. The hula hoop is small. If we all get inside the hula hoop and stand shoulder to shoulder, we will all be touching, and we will survive.
I shout the command with confidence.
The team moves quickly. We have made it in time.
We smile at each other. We’re safe.
The whistle blows. The consultant points to each of us. One by one.
Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.
And lastly, he points at me. He says, Killer.
Wait. What? How did I fail?
First, I didn’t understand the context. I didn’t do my research. I jumped to the first question that came to mind. I missed the fact that there was a trap inside the hula hoop. It was a portal that sucked us directly into the meteor shower.
Second, I didn’t think about alternative solutions. Duh! We could have held hands outside of the hula hoop.
And last, I didn’t ask any of my teammates for ideas. They might have had a better question or a better solution.
I moved too fast because the clock was ticking, and I felt the pressure to act.
I focused on getting to a solution versus getting to the right one.
The consultant ended the simulation with a smug look on his face. Sure, he has done this before! “Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up”
Hmm. That is an interesting way to put it.
Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you move too fast just so you can keep moving?
It happens to me all of the time at work.
I go with the first idea because we have a deadline. I pursue a strategy to solve the symptom, not the root cause. I stop listening and start solving the minute I hear a problem, and it’s not really the problem that needs solving.
Sure, I try to remind myself about the fateful day at the management seminar, where I killed my team because I moved too quickly. It made a real impression on me. Unfortunately, too often, I forget.
I’m wondering, are you good at this? How do you keep your eyes on the important bigger picture when you have so many urgent details to manage?