Tag: Common Sense

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Recently, it seems like people have forgotten the rules of the road in Atlanta.  Two weeks back, a colleague of mine got in a pretty bad car accident when another driver failed to yield prior to turning at a green light intersection.  I myself have been to a significant number of four way stops recently where a second driver headed in one direction thought “taking turns” wasn’t applicable to them.  What gives?

To draw a parallel to the working world, I am a big proponent of following the rules of the road and giving people the right of way.  Nothing is more frustrating than people that don’t give others a chance, and offer (if nothing else as a common courtesy) someone else the chance to take their turn and speak up on a topic.  I guess some people think that it’s a sign of power or strength to blatantly cut off other individuals.  To me – it’s simply dangerous.  Weaving in and out of traffic (on the road and in the conference room) will ultimately wreck you.  Even if you don’t realize it, you are creating a persona and reputation for yourself that is unpleasant to most of those whom you will encounter.  It’s like playing with fire.  At some point, you will invariably get burned.

So be careful – and try to let others have the right of way every now and then.

Til Next Time,

Michael

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I think common sense has taken a back seat recently in Corporate America.  It has been replaced with process, compliance, and a general circus of activities that promote anything but working off gut instincts.  And I’m really scared about that.

Listen, I get that ground rules are always good to have around and that in the void of some form of reinforced direction from the top, the inmates could take over the asylum.  However, I feel like our culture has overcorrected too much and turned into an over-forgiving workplace where everyone gets a mulligan whenever they need it “just because” with no repercussions, coaching, or corrective action plans.

The other day, I caught myself attempting to explain to my wider team how to react in a given situation if they were presented with a colleague or business partner who wasn’t providing quite the level of detail that may be needed from our team’s standpoint in order to properly track program progress or keep a careful eye out for collisions, risks, or issues.  Or, worse, if the partner wasn’t providing accurate responses because they didn’t think it through all the way.  After the fact, I realize how crass it sounded (apologies in advance – and I also apologized to my team) – but I simply said “Use your brain”.  It seems so simple, but I think some of us get jaded or sidetracked by the operational reality or the whirlwind and lose sight of our gut in the most critical of times.

Every organization should more proactively teach and coach how to solicit details and feedback from their colleagues (internally and externally).  My boss says it best – “when there’s smoke, there’s fire”.  If your coworker has told you that there “shouldn’t be any impact”, it is your choice whether you believe them.  But I typically expect the best and prepare for the worst.  Because apparently common sense isn’t as common as we used to believe.

Til Next Time,

Michael

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