Obstacles? Deal with Them Now
An old farmer had plowed around a large rock in one of his fields for years. He had broken several plowshares and a cultivator on it and had grown rather morbid about the rock.
After breaking another plowshare one day, and remembering all the trouble the rock had caused him through the years, he finally decided to do something about it.
When he put the crowbar under the rock, he was surprised to discover that it was only about six inches thick and that he could break it up easily with a sledgehammer. As he was carting the pieces away he had to smile, remembering all the trouble that the rock had caused him over the years and how easy it would have been to get rid of it sooner.
The failure to deal with obstacles as soon as they arise can often lead to a waste of energy and material and human resources. It can also lead to a derailment of projects. Far too often, as managers in organizations we try to work around obstacles rather than deal frontally with them.
Of course, not every obstacle can be dealt with frontally. Rational thought about the consequences of various courses of action is necessary to avoid complications in both the present and the future. A balance has to be struck between the risk of leaving the obstacle alone and the benefits of dealing with the situation as quickly as possible.
There are managers who would use the term especially with regard to employees who are troublesome, ‘Let’s cut our loss.” There are companies who would prefer to pay off employees who are perceived trouble makers and move on with their business. There are times when surgical precision is necessary in organizations if obstacles are to be removed and the life of the company is to continue.
Some obstacles are not worth dealing with since they really do not affect the organization. However there are obstacles that must not be allowed to fester. By allowing them to fester, not only is the organization affected but the emotional drain and loss of intellectual power is often so great that the very purpose of the company is undermined. The results are shown up in terms of customer loyalty, profitability and respect that employees have for the Manager.
Remember that in dealing with obstacles especially where it involves employees the best decision is made when you balance managerial toughness with managerial fairness. In any event don’t let obstacles stick around too long . If they do they will become comfortable and like tenants you can’t evict you will find it difficult to evict the obstacle the longer you give it room and space.
Brian Cavanaugh, T.O.R., The Sower’s SeedsShare on Facebook