On a recent road trip to Oklahoma, I was frequently annoyed by one of my pet peeves—concrete highways. They stink!
The very best case for concrete highways is thump, thump, thump…. After a few years, thump, thump, thump becomes bump, bump, bump…. Then inevitably, it is BUMP, BUMP, BUMP…. Eventually, weather and 18 wheelers take the road all the way to JAR, JAR, JAR…. When the road has been patched—as all concrete roads have been—the patches sing: shrrrrrrrp, shrrrrrrrp, shrrrrrrrp.… So, driving on concrete highways is a bump, bump, JAR, bump, BUMP, shrrrrrrp, bump…experience.
Driving through eastern Oklahoma, I was enjoying a bump, bump, JAR, bump, BUMP, shrrrrrrrp, bump…ride which was suddenly squeezed down to one lane because they were putting in an all new road. So now I was getting to enjoy this bump, bump, JAR, bump, BUMP, shrrrrrrrp, bump…at 40 miles per hour, but excited and hopeful that on my next trip the all new road would be smooooooooth.
Or would it? Unfortunately, the new road is being paved with—you guessed it—concrete. So while it will be smooooooooth for a year or two, it won’t be long before, like all concrete highways, it is back to bump, bump, JAR, bump, BUMP, shrrrrrrrp, bump…. The concrete companies and dentists (a teeth jarring ride is good for business) must have a strong lobby.
There is an old saying: If you do the same thing, the same way, you will get the same results. State highway commissioners must not be aware of this little kernel of truth. The question for you as a leader is: Are you aware of it?
If your organization (company, department, store, church, etc.) is caught in a bump, bump, JAR, bump, BUMP, shrrrrrrrp, bump…cycle, instead of trying to repair the concrete, maybe you should try something entirely new and different—like asphalt. If you are the leader, it has to start with you. Nobody else is going to tell the concrete companies and dentists to take a hike.
By the way, it is possible that the main thing that must be new and different is way you are leading. Just a thought.
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner