It was a warm January night in Melbourne, Australia. The night shift had just begun. The muffled calls on the police radio announced officers in nearby suburb needed urgent assistance. I switched on the lights and sirens of the police van and we were on our way. Unfortunately we didn’t make it that night as the picture above demonstrates. What did I learn from this moment in time? That you should pay attention to the journey no matter how noble the destination.
Had I paid attention to the surroundings more closely, maybe I would have seen that the road I was on had just been resurfaced and had sand on it making braking less effective. Maybe I would have paid more attention to the collective policing experience of my colleague and myself was about 13 months. Maybe I would have considered that the truck driver may not have been looking over his shoulder when turning as he accelerated off the mark. Maybe I would have considered that the large diesel engine of a truck might drown out the sirens to the truck driver.
In a business context, this story is about making sense of your surroundings and your own capabilities before setting off on your goal. I think if you understand your capabilities, the capabilities of those you are working with and your environment then, in my view, there is a high probability you will be able to notice events before they happen or take advantage of opportunities as you move towards your goal.
There are a number of ways to be aware of your journey. Here are some ideas:
- Continually ask why are we doing this?
- Is there any other information in the organization that can assist in understanding what is happening right now?
- What other activities in the organization may be affected by my current actions?
In essence, fixating on the destination means you may not be able to reassess along the way which can be dangerous. It is important to know when to drive to the goal but it is also important to know when to stop, before something stops you!!
End note: There were no fatalities in this collision.