I did something really dumb yesterday and I thought it might be instructive. After all, as I tell my clients, the reason you hire someone with as much experience as I have is because I’ve already made most of the stupid mistakes. Why not learn from my stupidity?
A friend was excited to learn that very high-speed internet was coming to her town.
She sent me a link to the local article about it. I scanned the first paragraph and saw “Google Fiber” and assumed that’s what she was talking about. I had read that Google was bringing its gigabit internet service to her town a couple of weeks ago. Being the good-natured sort, I replied that yes, I was aware of it when it was news a couple of weeks ago. Snark quotient off the chart, I know. She calmly said, “No, not Google. Read it – it’s a local company. They’ll be here before Google.” My apology was immediate and sincere.
We all do that, I think. We’re so trained to multitask that our brains get good at parsing little pieces of information, evaluating them, and deciding whether and how to act upon them in an incredibly rapid fashion. Maybe it’s become too fast. As my faux-pas demonstrates, taking the time to get all of the available information might delay an opinion but it will probably make the quality of that opinion – and the decisions we make based upon our opinions – much higher.
Homer Simpson is one of my favorite characters but I’m not so sure he’s a great example for any of us as a businessperson. “DOH” is a word he says on a regular basis, not that anyone would accuse him of moving in an overly rapid manner. Taking our time – just a bit more time – to gather information more carefully and completely can help eliminate the “doh” factor. I’m going to try to do just that – you?