Friday, July 13, 2012

Falling Rock Zone

Falling Rock Zone


here are areas along the interstate highways where the original road builders had to blast through large rock formations.  And there are signs posted near those areas that say “Falling Rock Zone”.  Think about it: you’re driving along with your parents; you see that sign, and think to yourself that the world certainly is a dangerous place.  And of course, your parents always say not to worry.  But in your mind you think they wouldn’t have posted that notice if nothing was going to happen.  This is one of those dilemmas you face when growing up.
One day I was in the car with my father and uncle and cousin; we were going on the Thruway in New York to see a Yankee’s game in the Bronx.  I was sitting in the middle of the front seat between my Dad and Uncle, looking out the windshield as we drove through one of those don’t-worry, nothing’s-going-to-happen zones when, from up above, I saw, you guessed it, a small rock sailing down towards us.  It hit the windshield and cracked it, and I had all I could do to stop from screaming and jumping into the back seat. 

I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember looking at my Dad, who had assured me nothing bad was going to happen, and wondering what part of “don’t worry” had he meant.  But of course what he really meant was: ‘don’t worry, even if something does happen, we’ll handle it and it will be all right.” We pulled over, made sure nothing more than the little crack in the windshield had occurred, and proceeded onto the game.  Truthfully, I don’t remember that game; but I sure do remember that rock.  And how even though the sight of that rock coming at us scared the daylights out of me, I knew that my Dad would make sure we ended up all right. 
There’s a great deal of comfort to be found in knowing that someone is looking out for you – whether it’s a parent, a friend, a partner, a higher being, a camp counselor, a coach, a mentor, or a boss.  My old boss used to say that managers should think of themselves as a “mommy” or “daddy”, because parents and managers both love unconditionally, are stern when necessary, nurture appropriately, and are always looking out for others’ well-being. So juxtaposing ths falling rock zone story with my boss’ theory of management creates the basis for how we should care for those we care for and care about.  The moral of this story: being prepared is good, but doing what’s right when something happens is better.  So the next time life drops a rock on you, pick yourself up, make sure everything and everyone is ok, and keep going.

My message this week is about professionalism and what it takes to be successful:
Experts often possess more data than judgment. Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell (born April 5, 1937) is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1987-1993) and the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005).

As a professional, you’re called upon to make decisions all the time.  And those decisions need to be both quick and correct.  If they’re not, how long do you think others will trust and rely upon you?   Of course being a professional doesn’t just apply to the business world – people are expected to act professionally, reliably, reasonably, fairly, truthfully, openly and honestly in every aspect of life.  That means in your personal life with family and friends, in your community life with other volunteers and committed people, and in your professional life with co-workers and colleagues.  And in order to be at the top of your game, you need to rely on all of your senses and all of the information you can gather, and then use your judgment to use and apply it appropriately.  Think of it this way: if you just look at data, you might miss the human element that accompanies everything in life.  So remember: an expert, or a professional, or even a regular person who possesses more data than judgment, isn’t as good as they need to be to anyone!

Stay Well!

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