Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 03/20/17

Beware of the state of your skills. They require monitoring. Just because you’re still doing something well doesn’t mean you’re doing it as well as you once did.

We can generally spot rust—it’s obvious and ugly—but we can’t spot “pre-rust,” the weakening of the original material. It’s not failure that’s usually the problem, it’s the ongoing diminishing of the original state. That’s why bridges are checked periodically and we don’t wait for them to fall down to learn there’s something wrong. It’s why your car battery may “suddenly” die—it’s actually been degrading for some time but you haven’t noticed the indicator.

When you deliberately change and don’t simply repeat the “same old/same old,” you force yourself to pay attention. But when you simply go through the same paces daily, you won’t notice the diminution, the attenuation, the decline. Like the frog in gradually boiling water, by the time you realize you’re in danger, it’s too late.

The answer here is conscious competency, not unconscious competency. That’s why airline pilots go through the same checklist before every flight and on every landing. They’re forced not to rely on habit, not to allow skills to slacken.

Maybe it’s time to stop giving the same speech, making the same conversation, going to the same places. Check for the rust before your business and/or life fall down.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. —Mahatma Gandhi

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