I was in New York yesterday for a couple of meetings. As someone who grew up in and around the city, I generally have very little patience for the hordes of tourists who clutter the sidewalks and take photos in the worst possible places for those of us that have places to go and things to do. It’s pretty easy to see they’re tourists, by the way. No self-respecting New Yawker would behave as they do (nor dress in many cases!). I’ve often advocated that the airlines give out a piece of paper as you land at Kennedy or LaGuardia reminding tourists to stand out of the way to take pictures, to keep moving on the sidewalks, to cross against the light if there is no traffic, and not to spend their life savings on fake Gucci from street guys.
But yesterday something struck me. Maybe they have the wonderment part right (but not the standing in the middle of the sidewalk to take photos part!). Maybe the lesson for all of us is not to take the familiar as all that familiar. We need to ask questions constantly, even about those things with which we’re very familiar. Because even if you walk down the same street every day, things change. Maybe there’s a new place to get lunch. Maybe there’s a new pothole you need to avoid. It’s the same with your business. Things change and you need to be alert.
I do enjoy being on flights into NY when there are people on board who are seeing the city for the first time. They squish against the windows, even from the aisle seats, to see. I’ve flown in hundreds of times but there is nothing like flying over NYC on a clear night – I put down my book and enjoy it every time. We all need to look with new eyes as best we can as we fly over our business landscapes, no matter how familiar they have become.
But please step to the side when doing so!