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Fools Rush In

Apr 01, 2021

The trap had been set—all I had to do now was wait.

As a 7-year old, my ill-advised prank was something straight out of the cartoons.

I had perched an open gallon of paint atop our refrigerator.

When one of my parents went to grab a snack they'd be doused with paint, and hilarity would ensue.

They never did.

After an hour of waiting, I got bored.

Then I got hungry.

I totally forgot about my prank, and I opened the refrigerator door.

BOOM sploosh.

The refrigerator, floor, and cabinets sported splashes of fresh white paint for the rest of their days.

As leaders, sometimes our intentions backfire on us in a similar way.

I see this most often in situations involving change management.

It’s our job to be visionary and to drive toward tomorrow’s better business state.

We reason that what’s good for the biz is good for our peeps, so we press hard to implement a constructive change as quickly as possible.

But when it comes to people, fast is slow and slow is fast.

The change that could have been artfully implemented in 6 months is attempted in 6 weeks and—after adding in the time it takes to put our people back together—winds up taking us 12 months.

In leadership, haste is the ultimate fool’s errand.