“When You’re Running in the Wrong Direction, More Speed Won’t Help” is a quote I developed around the idea that most people initially believe the answer to nearly everything is to just try harder. When it isn’t you end up making this worse.
When I was a long haired rock and roll musician traveling the highways of our land it happened more than a couple of times that I’d get off the road to refuel or resupply, and then get back on the highway in one of those ultra-flat areas of the US like Oklahoma, or Kansas, or Winslow Arizona and accidentally go the wrong direction.
From the second I made the fatal error I was driving back East instead of West to Las Vegas or LA – running in the wrong direction. Pushing the gas pedal harder will not increase my success, or pull me our of a slump, it’s just making things worse.
The Difference Between a Great Manager and a Great Leader
In the “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” Stephen Covey talks about the difference between a manager and a leader.
Envision a team of workers trying to slash through a heavy growth jungle. As they sweat and toil and flail away the manager makes sure they all have plenty of water and sharp machetes. He helps them continue to press and stay productive, tracking their progress and refining the work.
The leader is the one who takes a ladder and climbs above the tallest tree, and shouts down, “Wrong Jungle!”
When we operate on assumptions from the past, outdated information, or even from fantasy and illusion, it’s easy to blame our own performance and suspect that if we just hit it harder we’d get better results.
“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Abraham Maslow
I’ve been accused of bailing on projects from time to time – and it’s true that I have. I simply refuse to ride a sinking disaster all the way to it’s final resting place on the bottom. I’ve had my share of hanging ons – usually for co-dependent reasons, embarrassment, or fear, or the crazy hope that SOMETHING was going to float this deal, and it sucks to hit bottom.
As one business friend said about bankruptcy. The problem is when you hit rock bottom, you don’t just hit the bottom, you go so much further down that zero! This refers, I’m sure, to going wildly in debt for our sins and failure to recognize and ACT on the truth in time.
So, before you:
Take it up a notch
Hit it harder
Get a bigger hammer
Pour more money into it
Step back and consider the reality of what you are trying to do, how you are trying to do it, what your assumptions will be about what will happen when it’s done, and if you might even be in the wrong jungle this time.
When You’re Running in the Wrong Direction – More Speed Won’t Help!
Have you recently avoided a disaster or calamity by seeing things were going wrong?
Are you pushing really hard now on some project – and wondering if it’s really going to fly? Why?
Please tell me in the comments below. I read them all and I’ll give you my 2 cents.