Discover more from Your Tech Maven Weekly
Red Light, Green Light
Lessons in Decision-Making from a Traffic Jam
The Intersection Incident
Last week, while driving back from dropping off my son at his high school, I rolled toward an intersection as the light turned from green to yellow to red and back to green. In the opposite direction, a minivan remained stopped despite the light turning green—not just once, but through two complete cycles of traffic lights. There was no evident emergency, the driver was just looking down, probably at their phone. Oddly enough, even with a large truck and cars piling up behind the van, no one honked their horn. Was it politeness taken to the extreme, or were people misinformed about local honking laws? It's hard to say. But this incident serves as a microcosm of larger issues we often face in technology and business.
We live in an age of incredible information overload, where misinformation abounds. Before taking or avoiding any action, it's crucial to verify your assumptions. Are you holding back from upgrading or switching your software because you've heard it's too complex? Double-check that assumption before missing out on potentially useful features.
The Importance of Timeliness
In the story of the minivan, hesitation led to a traffic snarl. Similarly, delays in business—whether it's hesitating to adopt a new technology or failing to make a timely decision—can lead to lost opportunities and bottlenecks. Being decisive at the right time can give you a competitive edge.
Understand the Full Picture
Just like drivers behind the large truck had no clue about the minivan causing the delay, team members in a project may not understand what's holding up progress. As an outside consultant, I’m sometimes left in the dark about internal conversations and challenges, which leads to frustration, delays, and unhappy Maven - and clients. Never underestimate the importance of good communication and comprehensive oversight in any setting.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
Not every hill is worth dying on. The drivers behind the minivan chose not to honk, possibly to avoid confrontation. In business, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons before taking a stand. Being assertive doesn't mean being confrontational.
The Courage to Speak Up
In the case of the minivan, the simple act of honking could have potentially resolved the situation. Yet, everyone remained silent, perhaps out of fear or misunderstanding. It's a reminder that sometimes, you have to be the one to break the silence, to make noise, even if it's uncomfortable or counter to what's considered "polite."
The Ripple Effect
One individual's actions or inactions can have far-reaching consequences. The minivan's failure to move set off a ripple of delays. Similarly, your tech decisions can affect all facets of your business, from personal productivity to customer satisfaction.
Last but not least, the incident serves as a reminder that we are all part of a larger system. The more you understand the complete landscape, the better equipped you are to make effective decisions. This is especially true in my role as a tech matchmaker. The best tech solutions arise from a deep understanding of not just the technologies themselves but also the business goals, team dynamics, and other variables at play.
Don't be let yourself be stalled behind unseen forces. Make well-informed, timely decisions and keep the lines of communication open. Your choices have ripple effects that can either stall progress or propel you forward.
3 Things I’m Reading
Sometimes late at night when I can’t sleep I dive into the Kindle daily deals, get surprised by an intriguing assortment, and nab a few. Plus my library gave up some goodies that have been on hold for a while. Here’s what I downloaded this week.
Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by the Vice Chair of Ogilvy advertising agency. All the “humans are not logical” reminder that you need, and a fun and insightful read. I have yet to find out why Red Bull is so popular even though everyone hates the taste, but I’m having fun getting there.
Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth by Benebell Wen. This is an unexpected choice because I never “got” the point of tarot, I’m always ready to contravene whatever predictions and expectations are put on me, and at over 1000 pages, it’s no lightweight. I was swayed by the author’s firm insistence that her goal is to use tarot for self-understanding and never prediction. Also, I’m here for practicing readings to a teddy bear. Hey, they too want to understand themselves.
Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari. I got another go at this one weeks after reading it originally, because San Francisco library has multiple systems for ebook and audiobook lending. For some reason everyone flocks to Libby, leading to much longer hold times on that platform. An interesting illustration of how illogical we are :). Still a really good listen.