The Wobbly Wheel

Once upon a time, 

on a day that looked a lot like today, Al B. Successful set off down a path that he was certain would lead to his organization’s success.  He was excited about what waited at the end of the path – happy customers, stable revenue, industry recognition and more!  He couldn’t wait to share those treasures with his team.  

So Al begins riding down the path, but after a bit of time passes, he begins to notice something wasn’t quite right about the bicycle he was riding.  The wheel, perhaps?   It seemed a bit wobbly.  “No time to stop today!” Al thought. “Getting down the path is too important!”  

So, he rides on.

A bit further on, the bike continues to wobble and now there’s a horrible grating sound every time he peddles.  In fact, it’s actually getting harder to peddle and progress down the path is slowing. “No time to stop today!” Al repeats to himself. “Getting down the path is too important!”  

So, he rides on.

Finally, it has become so hard for Al to peddle that he gets off the bicycle and begins to walk beside it, pushing it along the path.  At this rate, it’s going to be a very long time before he reaches his destination. Still he thinks to himself, “No time to stop today!  Getting down the path is too important!”  

To an outside observer, 

the solution for Al’s dilemma seems obvious.  Take a moment, assess the wheel, figure out why it’s not rolling smoothly, fix the problem and soon he’d be able to speed right on down the path to the ultimate destination.  Unfortunately, that’s not the intuitive thing to do when you’re in a rush to get to a goal and pausing for a moment was certainly not what Al wanted to do.

Sometimes we don’t even realize that progress has slowed, or how hard we are having to pedal, or even how loud the grinding noise has become. We are simply doing the best we can to get down the path and we don’t recognize how much faster we could get there if we just paused long enough to take care of our wobbly wheel.

How about you?  

Have a wobbly wheel that needs some attention?  How much faster could you speed down the path if you paused for a moment to fix it?

Joy Duling is the Founder/Managing Director of A 25 Hour Day, LLC, as well as Creator of The Productive Association program. Since 2005, Joy and her team have specialized in supporting associations that have big workloads and small staffs.