A Waste Of Time

I fell asleep at my computer last night.

I am working on a project that has pretty much occupied all of my time over the course of the last three shifts. I think, in retrospect, that the reason that I am having to embark on this dreaded project is simply that a great number of people failed to understand that their actions or inaction created a mess that someday would have to be unraveled.

The mess doesn't even go back a short while.  When I say a great number, I am talking about numbers probably nearing a hundred.  Anyone close to this project that knows that I am talking in circles and understands the scope of this project might disagree with me, but I see the failure in my own interface with the situation, and I see the failures in many others who permitted the condition to occur, knowingly or not.

In a microscope, closely examining one piece of the puzzle, you might not even notice the problem exists.  But when you step back and look at the larger picture, you can see it is definitely crooked.  There are warning signs printed all over this and frankly, they were ignored. But they are insignificant when you step back even farther and realize that any problems we face today could have been avoided had individuals assumed some responsibility and did the right thing early on.

One of the principals in this project called out everyone else on the team and with good reason.  I say that because he is absolutely right; the system failed us.  Or to be clear, we failed the system, because it wasn't all to be blamed on the way we manage these situations.  Instead, key stakeholders ignored critical information.  They felt like status quo was acceptable. Or perhaps they felt inadequate to address the most pressing challenges.  I told this individual that while the historical aspect of how we got to this place is important, just to put the picture in perspective, who to blame is irrelevant. The situation is what it is and you can't unring a bell.  We must look forward.

Those of you reading this might assume you know what I am referring to, but I am suggesting to you that you re-read it and ask yourself, "What am I doing that is creating this same situation today?"  Because if you are honest with yourself, there are any number of issues I have to deal with that follow this chain of events and I am sure I am not alone.

I have quoted my father on any number of occasions in this regard, probably the quote that will stick with me for the rest of my life: "Do it right the first time."  Had we addressed the issues when they were small, had we fixed the leak, had we prevented the spark, had we communicated the concerns, if we had done any of these things, would they have corrected the problem before we got to this disaster we now embrace?

Let go of your concerns for a moment and realize that a drop of water contributes to the flood that sweeps away your home.  Everything affects everything else and that ripple becomes a wave, given the right conditions to grow.  Don't be part of the problem; solve the issues before they become a nightmare to untangle. 

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