I have noticed an upward trend recently and now feel compelled to write about it; there is an increasing lack of common sense in decision-making. I almost wrote about this several weeks ago, but two events in the past two days have convinced me that now is the time.
I firmly believe that the key for success whether a parent, an organization, a teacher, a restaurant, etc.is that there must be the ability to use common sense when making a decision. In an organization, that ability comes from a strong training program with the leader of the organization inspiring the confidence of the worker and the framework for those common sense decisions to be made.
So what were the events and the tipping point to inspire this particular subject? They involve two fast food restaurants, one national park and one teacher conversation. Here you go…names omitted:
· Since I am trying to digest fewer calories, when eating at one of my favorite sandwich shops I asked them if they would take my 6” sub sandwich and put all of the ingredients on half of the sandwich so that I could dispose of ½ of the bread. They said, “No ma’am, we are not allowed to do that.” Really? That makes no common sense whatsoever. They did agree to cut my 6” sub in half so that I could personally move all of the items to one side.
· At another favorite Mexican fast-food establishment, they had run out of chicken on the line. I was waiting for chicken and the guy behind the counter was chopping away. He continued to chop and chop while we all waited. The funny thing was that he was chopping substantially more than the line container could hold and at any point, he could have stopped chopping and filled up the line container and then gone back to his chopping. Instead, he chopped away until it was all chopped and then filled the container on the line and a huge container near the grill. During his chopping, the rest of the employees were standing with nothing to do since the line was at a standstill and we all watched the length of the line double in size. I don’t get it….
· Over the weekend, I ran into some teachers who were sharing with me some of their frustrations. The educational pendulum continues to swing and there have been many recent changes and requirements. If you ask teachers what they want most, they mostly just want to be left alone to teach their students. The tipping point for this particular teacher was that she had gotten an e-mail from an administrator admonishing her for not submitting her attendance via her computer within the first ten minutes of her class. The funny thing here is that she was not even at school on the day in question.
· This morning I am fortunate and am at the beach. Often when we are here, I walk up the beach to the national park and back. Sometimes my feet give me trouble and I walk up on the beach and back to the condo on the road through the park. Today, I thought I would just walk on the road and give my feet a break. I began my walk from the condo and walked about ¾ of a mile to the park entrance where they wanted me to pay to walk into the park on the road. If I were going to use the park facilities, beach area, anything, I totally understand that. It was fairly obvious that I was only walking. I was wearing athletic attire, headphones in my ear, and had no bag or backpack. When the ranger on duty told me I would have to pay to walk on, I said, “Really? I can walk up here on the beach and walk back on the road for no charge.” He shrugged and said, “Do what you need to do.” That was my tipping point.
I wish I could say that I have never suffered from a lack of common sense, but alas, that is not true. I can tell you though, that when I have realized my lack of common sense, it smacked me in the face and resulted in a change in my behavior. I will never forget the last time that I spanked my son. He was probably about seven years old and as I spanked him, in-between each swat of my hand to his bottom I said, “We…don’t…hit…people!” How ludicrous that I would be hitting my child instructing him not to hit. That was his last spanking – change of discipline was forthcoming.
I hope that whatever you do, you will strive to utilize some common sense in situational leadership. If you are a school administrator, please use some common sense and give people the benefit of the doubt when possible. At least make sure someone is at fault before the accusation is made. As a teacher, take the time to listen to the excuse or question that you hear from a student before shutting it off. Does what you are doing make sense? If you own a restaurant, please train your people to be able to make small decisions on their own. It would save me some calories and shorten your line resulting in customer satisfaction. Parenting is the most difficult job that I have ever had, but I hope as a parent you will talk with your children about what makes good sense and what does not in the hopes that our next generation will have increased opportunities to have and use common sense. If you want to spread a dose of common sense, share this with those you know.
Tomorrow, I will be walking beachside...or maybe not.