Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Know Where Youre Going

Anecdote:

2 Teams from a lumber processing company expert in cutting down trees were dropped into the thick Amazon forest a few miles from their company headquarters, which processed timber for export. They were so engrossed in their work that they realized that they cut through the dense forest so fast that they were miles apart, and seemed to be lost.

It was around 4 in the afternoon when the leader of Team A decided to stop work and head for home. Team A had gas powered chain saws. Leader sat down and based on a few observations, gave the instruction to his men to use their advanced tools and start cutting as fast as they can toward the north-east direction.

Team B had cutting jungle knives and a few old-fashioned hand-saws. Leader sat them down and started a brainstorming session. After about 20 minutes, someone had an idea and climbed up the tallest tree nearby, surveyed the skyline, and saw the usual smoke coming out of their processing plant. He went down and indicated to everyone where to start cutting and in what direction.

Some related lessons:

1. Its good to sit down for a discussion to get ideas, no matter how urgent the situation is - that is, unless there's a real fire raging or the boat is already sinking
2. Its good to listen to people even though youre the leader. Leaders do not have the monopoly of good ideas
3. Its good to know where you want to go. Otherwise you might find yourself wasting precious time, money and effort and still not achieve your target