“Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Those are words from the legendary leader and basketball coach John Wooden. Andrew Hill, author and former Wooden player, also recounts, “Life, like basketball, must be played fast–but never out of control.” Those words ring so true for us today. You see, hurrying tends to cause mistakes. I certainly learned that the hard way on a recent day off…It was the day before my birthday and a rare February forecast of 75 degrees with very little wind, so I decided to flex a day from work. My plan: go to our deer camp, move some equipment back to the camp as our recent flooding was receding, then put my boat in the lake and do some early crappie fishing. I love to crappie (white perch) fish.
So I borrowed my buddy’s trailer and headed to camp about an hour away. I actually brought his hunting golf cart back with me to save him a trip. It was beautiful, just like the forecast and at 10 a.m., I had his cart unloaded and started loading my cart to take to my camp. I parked on an incline to make it easy to roll his cart off and put under the shed since I did not have the key. Worked like a charm. I was ahead of schedule and I could see the lake from there. It was beautiful, calm, warm and calling me to go fishing. So I started loading my cart but because I was parked on the incline, the brakes would not hold the cart in place.
Okay, the smart thing to do here is back the cart off the trailer, pull the truck around and park on a flat or down hill surface and then reload the hunting cart. No, it would be QUICKER to simply grab a piece of wood and when I pulled up to the front rail of the trailer, drop the wood behind the front tire, dismount and secure the cart to the trailer. This would save at least 15 minutes and I could be fishing in no time. Look at that beautiful lake!
Yes, the smart thing would have been to move the entire truck and trailer. But that’s not what I did. So, as I pulled up on the trailer and leaned out to drop the wood behind the front wheel, my foot accidentally pressed on the accelerator causing the cart to lurch forward, the wheels caught on the rail and boom, jumped right over the front rail, almost hitting my truck. Now I had a mess as my cart was suspended on the front rail, half on and half off the trailer.
I will not go into detail about all of the things I tried before I finally got the cart back off the rail, but it was two hours later. And the inviting view of the lake was more torturous than ever as I struggled with my quicker way. My beautifully planned day was quickly getting away from me as I had gotten in too big of a hurry.
As I drove home that evening, I reflected on the events of the day and the lesson learned and how it is so relevant to what we are facing today.
With transformation happening at home and work, we see change coming at warp speed. But we can also see the many opportunities this change is generating and if we move fast enough, we can be ready to capture them. I will be the first to say, we must move fast and for many organizations, much faster than we are moving today. This rate of change is scary because it’s faster and broader than we have experienced before. By focusing on the hard trends that are changing how we work and live, we can better identify the changes we need to make.
Our challenge is to realize that we will need to realign our team, our skills and our knowledge frequently to be successful with the changes we are making or that might be required. Too often, we put ourselves in a worse situation like I did by not re-aligning my truck and trailer, when we do not stop and plan what skills and knowledge our teams will need to succeed in our transforming world.
I’m confident that those who choose to realign, to challenge the status quo while maintaining an urgency to secure new opportunities, will catch a lot of fish over the next few years.