Here’s the lesson for this blog post.
When a problem is threatening to get out of hand, we should act earlier than we do–much, much earlier!
When we wait, it can have very bad consequences. (Even, in the case of Ebola, very deadly consequences).
Consider these three items:
- In The Organized Mind, Daniel Levitin describes the practice of musicians to carry “extra” supplies (think guitarists, with extra guitar strings). Here’s the key quote:
“All these people spend a great deal of time trying to think about all the ways that something might go wrong, how they might prevent it, and how they would recover if it does.”
Sounds like wise counsel and advice to me.
- In What Matters Now, Gary Hamel includes this stark warning:
“Problem is, deep change is almost always crisis-driven; it’s tardy, traumatic and expensive.”
So, when we wait for the crisis, and then act, we pretty much blow it… This usually is, as Mr Hamel put it, “tardy, traumatic, and expensive.”
- Consider the Ebola crisis. In the Business Insider article We Screwed Up on Ebola, and Now the Crisis is Getting Much Worse by Lauren Friedman, we read:
Back in April, when the Ebola outbreak in West Africa had killed less than 100 people, Doctors Without Borders urged the world to mobilize a significant response, warning that failure to act could result in an “unprecedented epidemic.”
Instead, the world responded with what Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times called “a global shrug.” Over the summer, as residents of the developed world comforted themselves with the knowledge that an outbreak on our home turf was highly unlikely, the death toll in one of the poorest corners of the world climbed sharply.
Now, take a look at this chart (from the Business Insider article).
So, the lesson: start looking at everything you do much more closely. What is set up to go wrong? What warning signs are you missing? What crisis might be (sometimes, almost certainly will be) coming “’round the bend”?
Identify early; act quickly. Don’t wait. Don’t wait to see if things will get worse. Chances are they will.
Waiting is “tardy, traumatic, expensive” – and can be pretty devastating.
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis