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Obstacles? Deal with Them Now

BoulderAn 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 Seeds

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