When something goes wrong in the workplace, your mind begins finding a solution for the worst-case scenario. Here’s why you should stop yourself. My wife and I were taking our boat out for an afternoon of boating. We got organized for the launch at the ramp parking before actually tying up a ramp lane. Google boat ramp follies, you’ll see hundreds of examples of things that can go wrong launching a boat – most involve operator error. We try to avoid those. Lines ready, check. Fenders out, check. Drain plug, check. Trailer straps clear, check. Key in ignition, check. Cooler, check.
We’re ready to launch. Julie stands ready at the side of the ramp to tend the boat as it slides off the trailer. So far, so good. Off the boat slips without a hitch. We’re almost ready to clear the ramp so the next boater can launch or recover – I’ll quickly park the car and trailer.
I come back to proceed to start her up. Julie wants to run through the starting process for practice. No problem; the ramp isn’t busy. Have at it, honey. Crank, crank, crank. Nothing. Try again. Crank, crank, crank. Nothing. Let me try it. Crank, crank, crank. Nothing. Must be fuel; it’s been a few weeks since we’ve run this boat. I go under a panel at the stern and compress the fuel line pressure ball. Crank, crank, crank. Nothing.
I’m starting to feel the pressure. Boats are circling. We’re becoming that boat that can’t clear the ramp. Trailers are coming into position. Do I have tools with me? Yes, but where to start? Spark plugs? Who am I kidding? I have no idea how to make this highly reliable Yamaha 200HP start. Yamahas are ubiquitous in Florida and known to be extremely reliable.
So What’s the Solution?When something goes wrong in the workplace, your mind automatically begins finding a solution for the worst-case scenario. Here's why you should stop yourself. Click To Tweet
From across the water, a young guy on a fishing boat yells out. “Hey, did you check the kill switch?” Gulp. The kill switch is a little collar that slides in place when you put the key in. When you put the key in CORRECTLY, that is. It’s meant to “kill” the motor in an accident or disablement of the driver. Well, no, I didn’t put the key in correctly. Slip the collar on, turn the key. Imagine that, we have a purring Yamaha. I turn with embarrassment to thank him with a friendly salute. He says, “Hey, don’t worry – it’s not on YouTube or anything.” Followed by, “99% of the time that’ll be your problem.” Yep, he’s right, and believe it or not, I’ve actually seen this movie before on other boats and done by other people.
Why do I share this with you? How many times have you jumped to the more complicated solution over the simple one staring you in the face?
Don’t bring boat ramp follies into the workplace. Keep it simple, use a checklist. When something isn’t working, step back. Look for the more obvious solution. As the man said, 99% of the time, that’ll be your problem.
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