Well, it’s not actually a disease so there is no cure. However, there is an antidote.
I was with my oldest friend the other day. We’ve known each other since we were born so there are some very old memories hanging around.
One of those memories involves an ancient dam that held back the river in the small town where we grew up. One summer day as we were roaming through town looking for something interesting to do when we decided to work our way across this ancient dam. There was a catwalk from one side of the river to the other but it was not reliable and certainly wasn’t fully in place across the entire river. But we headed across anyway and either through bravery or stupidity (most like the later) we worked our way across some very precarious sections as we watched the water rapidly cross the top of the dam and cascade down to the river below.
When we returned home that evening the natural question first asked by our parents was “What have you been doing?” Probably because we were still a bit excited about accomplishing the goal, we freely told tales of conquering our fear and achieving the goal of crossing the river. With open jaws and terrified looks on their faces one of the parents finally said “Did you ever stop to think? Do you know how stupid that was?” Well, there it was; both the disease of stupidity and the antidote of stopping to think.
But I was a young teenager at that point, certainly I’ve become wiser through the years. But, it’s amazing to me how many corporate teams I work with seem to exhibit that same level of teenage stupidity, not stopping to think.
Because of the pace and globalization of today’s businesses, there it a belief that we must decide quickly in order to survive. But quick deciding is a relic of the industrial age. The banner of the industrial age is quicker, better, cheaper. But that only works when your future is clearly defined and the path is known. Then you can work harder and be smart enough to beat the competition by being quicker, better, cheaper. But through the information age and in particular as we move into the conceptual age, we’re often trying to see around corners and over horizons. This takes learning and working with perspectives. Today we need to stop and think. We need an attitude of quick learning leading to good decisions.
Quick learning environments require us to be open to perspectives and opposing thoughts and beliefs. It takes a great team environment in order to work through opposing views and build to commitment of a unified direction. It requires that we stop and think.
Move out of the quick deciding world and into the quick learning world. You’ll make better decisions if you stop to think.