Extra Cheese With a Side of Irritation
Aren't we all creatures of habit to a certain degree? The route from my house to Drake University is fairly well set. Most of the streets have at least two lanes each direction to facilitate passing; however, there's a short stretch where there's only one lane of traffic in each direction. Usually it's not an issue, nor is it any annoyance... until the other day. The Pizza Hut delivery guy decided he would park his car on this residential stretch of no-passing, amusingly right under a No Parking sign, rather than pulling into the driveway. Evidently, Pizza Hut doesn't believe in training their drivers to obey basic street signs.
Don't get me wrong: I actually like Pizza Hut and their products. And this delivery guy was simply trying to do his job (probably for minimum wage). He simply wanted to serve his customers by getting them their pizza as quickly as possible. His system was set. The inputs were his car, a hot pizza, and the route to the customer's front door (among other things). The output was a safely delivered pizza and a collection of funds. The feedback loop was a satisfied customer with a happy tummy.
But part of his UNINTENDED feedback loop was an already irritable driver who was in a bit of a hurry. And this driver had a camera and a blog. And he's already been doing a lot of thinking about how systems all fit together, and how we can't just pay attention to our own systems - we have to look at how achieving our outputs affect others.
What about you? The readers of this blog are mostly professionals who are striving to do great things for their customers. But - in your quest to "seize the accomplishment" are you inadvertently hindering somebody else's system from reaching a desired output. Let me ask you this: how many times have you been called on the carpet "just for doing your job"? How many times have you lived out the "no good deed goes unpunished" saying? I'm not saying we shouldn't go above and beyond, and I'm certainly not advocating merely staying inside our comfort zones so we never get in trouble. (For me, "in trouble" is more of a perpetual state than an occasional discrete event.) All I'm asking you to do is to think about the systems around you, and how your quest for excellence may be adversely impacting somebody else who is trying to do the same.
Then our outputs can be delivered hot, fresh, and irritation-free.