People who travel in foreign lands on occasion experience gastrointestinal distress. In fact this is such a common event that each country has its own special name for the traveler’s woes: In Mexico Montezuma’s Revenge; in Morocco the Infidel’s Reward; in France the Ugly American; in Egypt the Curse of the Pharos; on Safari in Tanzania the Surprise of the Big 5. My wife often travels with me to these places. Being a dietician she has a better understanding of the dangers that lead to these sudden, painful, debilitating events. Many times as I have stepped into the danger zone she issues a warning that goes something like, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Normally I pay attention to her sage advice and yet on occasion I am so sure that I will be ok and the situation looks so simple and gastronomically safe that I choose to follow my own personal, private culture and make a questionable decision/act.
Not always, but not never, I pay the price for my decision and experience another sudden, painful, debilitating event. She shakes her head, smiles and hands me the pill of the day as I go about suffering the consequences of my shortcut. Our trip slows down, but I don’t!
As you ‘sit and think’ over the next week; what are the cultural realities that you and your organization live with, ignore and take shortcuts you know are risky. They don’t always lead to injuries, but when they do the root cause is often traceable back to something we knew we shouldn’t be doing. There are usually work rules, procedures and Job Safe Analyses that have addressed this same issue in the past. For one “good reason” or another we just choose to ignore that still small voice that says “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Sit, think, act correctly and stop experiencing the sudden surprises that lead to the pain and makes us feel so stupid.