Learning To Drive


Do you remember learning how to drive a car? I know there are some parents of 15 and 16 year olds shuddering right now. Hell, I’m 30 and I’m confident if I asked my Mom that question, she’d probably tap her foot on the ground to find her imaginary brake pedal even after all these years. I definitely feel for her and I’m not looking forward to teaching my own kids to drive some day.

Think about it – the kid is in the worst period of their life between teen angst and craving independence and all of a sudden, you’re locked in a metal box with them and your life is literally in their hands? No thank you.

My mom, and I imagine many other smart parents, decided to send me to a driving school. Getting the outside help was nice and even better because I wasn’t getting frustrated with my mom while I was dealing with DC drivers. The driving instructor had a lot more patience than anyone in my family and it helped me calm down long enough to pass my driver’s test and save my mother and I from future headaches and all out war.

There’s something about learning from someone who’s not in your family or on your team that always seems like it’s easier, like you can almost hear the words better. I’m sure we’ve all heard a parent say “well I told you that a week ago, you just didn’t listen.” Of course, we’ll deny it vehemently unless there’s proof – but that’s beside the point.

The point here is that it’s time we let outside people come in to help us with some of our bigger challenges and ask more questions. It’s time that we relied on our networks, not just our team mates, to discuss challenges.  Dial the numbers and make an hour phone call instead of locking your team in a room for an “all day brainstorm.”

Think about this. At a SHRM dinner, a simple conversation about interviews or recruiting for a particular field are answered in minutes. It’s clear based on how the person presented the story that they’ve been struggling with a problem and solution for weeks. This simple moment highlights a powerful principal – there are answers out there. Free ones. You don’t need to hire some $500 an hour consultant to figure things out if you just go ask questions.

Yet we keep repeating our mistakes – letting budgets and inherited awful technology remain so there’s someone to blame. Nothing new means there’s no blame to distribute, right?

Really, there’s no excuse for stasis.

do not sit still