Jeff Judy

Jeff's Thoughts - July 6, 2011

Summer Bugs

This is a week when a lot of us are taking some extra time off. But if I approached my vacation time by taking the advice I often get in training and consulting situations, I'd probably wish I'd kept working.

There are a couple of phrases that I hear again and again that, well, just bug me. It's not that the basic ideas are without value, it is that they are adopted without reflection, that some people swallow this bait whole.

For instance: "We'd love to do _______ at our bank, but we have to match the competition." I think some banks are run, not by their own boards and management, but by the leadership of whatever bank is across the street from them.

I suppose, by that reasoning, I should have spent Independence Day in my rowboat, fishing. Do I fish? no. Do I have a fishing pole? If I do, I have no idea where it might be. Rowboat? Of course not.

But everybody else in Minnesota likes to fish, and lots of them will be fishing throughout every long weekend of the summer. Where do I get the nerve to think that I might be better off doing something different?

So, when I go fishing like everybody else, I'll have some catching up to do on technique. I'll just figure out which friend or neighbor catches the most fish, and steal that person's "best practices." I'll buy the same equipment and use the same bait.

Of course, I can't fish in exactly the same spot as the neighbors -- for one, they won't tell me where their secret fishing hole is -- but that's no problem, I have their best practices. So what if they fish in a trout stream and I'm sitting on a big lake where walleye are the prized catch!

After all, best is best! True, best practices that are just captured and applied without adapting them to conditions at different locations or environments may not produce best outcomes, but the process is everything ... Isn't it?

I have to admit, the copycat approach saves me a lot of thinking. I may not enjoy the results, I may not have much fun, but am I going to let that bug me?

You betcha!