WISDOM LEADING: The Conversation

Weekly Wisdoms Blog

Stuck in Traffic

Dr. Foster Mobley // Quotables, Wisdom Leading

I live and mostly work in Southern California. That means spending time in traffic...a lot of time in traffic. When you're somebody like me, who seeks teaching opportunities in nearly every part of life, rush-hour traffic becomes fertile ground for thought experiments. Here's where my thoughts have taken me lately. Consider a highway filled with cars to be like an interconnected organization. Each car and driver is independent, but not one can take an action that does not affect the entire organization. When someone merges into a lane and cuts too close to the car behind them, causing that driver to slam on his brakes, there's an immediate ripple effect. The cars behind hit their brakes, drivers in the next lane slow down out of caution, and traffic slows for some distance. Heaven help us if there's a traffic stop on the shoulder-gawkers can bring traffic to a crawl for miles. The reminder here is that each of us impacts many others in ways we don't perceive, with even our smallest actions. In an organization where people are striving for better and constantly pushing their limits, little margin for error exists-something as simple as an angry word or a dropped deadline. Our actions, positive and negative, can and do ripple through the entire community. tail lights flash. People lean on their horns and hurl accusations. Things fall apart. Wise leaders watch and listen, not just for the sounds of great accomplishment, but also the ebb and flow of people and events in their organization to ensure that small actions aren't causing a traffic jam. Even better, wise leaders build capacity in others by teaching mindfulness about the impact of one's actions. No one is an island. Are you encouraging mindfulness or contributing to the traffic jam?

I live and mostly work in Southern California. That means spending time in traffic...a lot of time in traffic. When you're somebody like me, who seeks teaching opportunities in nearly every part of life, rush-hour traffic becomes fertile ground for thought experiments. Here's where my thoughts have taken me lately.

Consider a highway filled with cars to be like an interconnected organization. Each car and driver is independent, but not one can take an action that does not affect the entire organization. When someone merges into a lane and cuts too close to the car behind them, causing that driver to slam on his brakes, there's an immediate ripple effect. The cars behind hit their brakes, drivers in the next lane slow down out of caution, and traffic slows for some distance. Heaven help us if there's a traffic stop on the shoulder-gawkers can bring traffic to a crawl for miles.

The reminder here is that each of us impacts many others in ways we don't perceive, with even our smallest actions. In an organization where people are striving for better and constantly pushing their limits, little margin for error exists-something as simple as an angry word or a dropped deadline. Our actions, positive and negative, can and do ripple through the entire community. Tail lights flash. People lean on their horns and hurl accusations. Things fall apart.

Wise leaders watch and listen, not just for the sounds of great accomplishment, but also the ebb and flow of people and events in their organization to ensure that small actions aren't causing a traffic jam. Even better, wise leaders build capacity in others by teaching mindfulness about the impact of one's actions. No one is an island.

Are you encouraging mindfulness or contributing to the traffic jam?

0 Comments // Permalink

There are currently no comments for this entry.

These comments are closed.

7.22.13 0
Comments

Search The Blog

Recent Posts

Summer HiatusSpring, Summer, Fall and WinterCosmos and the Forgotten Power of WonderAmazon?s Fire Phone and the Death of ConnectionJune 28th, 1914

Categories

BusinessEducationHistoryQuotablesSportsWisdom Leading

Archives

August 2014July 2014June 2014May 2014April 2014March 2014February 2014January 2014December 2013November 2013October 2013September 2013August 2013July 2013June 2013May 2013April 2013March 2013February 2013January 2013December 2012November 2012October 2012September 2012August 2012July 2012June 2012May 2012April 2012March 2012February 2012January 2012December 2011November 2011October 2011
Return to Blog
Dr. Foster Mobley Blog RSS Feed
 

Dr. Foster Mobley

Trusted advisor and coach to admired executives globally for 3 decades, Thought leader on wisdom-based approaches to breakthrough leading, "Lead Coach" for Deloitte's experienced and high potential leader development, Team performance advisor to two NCAA championship teams