Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stop, Think and Act (In That Order)

Today I did not follow this sequence in the right order. I was in a hurry, I had tasks queued up, very little time between them, and lots of people depending on me to deliver and get to the next meeting place on time. So what did I do?

I put a full tank of unleaded petrol in my diesel car.

Then I zoomed out of the petrol station, drove about 500 meters and then stopped. There I sat for about 2 hours waiting for a tow truck. Now I don't have a car and I have plenty of time to think, no way to act, and am well and truly stopped (for at least two days).

I can think of less expensive examples of this happening in the office. Sending an email before properly considering the tone (and getting a surprisingly surly reply), walking into a meeting without having time to carefully read the agenda and seeing my name on it as I walk through the door and not making a great intervention, forgetting to submit my travel authorization in a rush and then having a bureacratic tangle to deal with on my return (all my own doing).

Stop, think and then act. Being "too busy" for reflection does not pay. Next time, I will get the order right.