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Too Close to Think

September 28th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Someone on the team needs to be a little farther away from the problem than the rest of us.

Once upon a time…a team of engineers and such had a major design review in Florida. The team didn’t live in Florida. The head of the team, thoroughly enmeshed in the details of the system being built by the team, decided to hold the review at the earliest possible moment.

The persons who scheduled that were close, very close to the problems of the project. We couldn’t delay that meeting a single moment, we had to do it as soon as possible to gain every day of schedule possible. Push. Push. Push.

The week chosen was spring break for local schools. Lots of people were going to the Orlando tourist attractions. The flights to Florida were booked. Members of the team were flying through Denver to reach Orlando with two stops in between. Rental cars were all gone. It was all a nightmare.

The team needed a team member who was not so close to the problem. The team needed a person who could sit back, look at the calendar, and say, “Yes, but…” And that team member needed to have a strong-enough voice to have the rest of the team listen.

I write this blog post from the comfortable table of a coffee shop a million miles away from the slings and arrows of project work. What do I know? Well, I was on that team of engineers who were told to make plane, hotel, and rent a car reservations in Florida during spring break. I raised my hand and pointed to the calendar. My warnings were ignored as I was the type of person to sit at a coffee shop table a million miles away from the slings and arrows of project work and mention local school calendars and tourist travel and such.

Please, assign a person to your team who sits a distance away at coffee shop tables and ponders the tedium of life.

Tags: General Systems Thinking · Management · Planning · Thinking

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