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Edition 282 – Bulging Discs

If only I’d changed the battery in my ride-on mower sooner, when I knew it was playing up.

If only I’d not pushed my ride-on mower the 70 metres from my shed to the front of my home to hook it up to the car and jump start it.

If only I’d figured out when I first started pushing my ride-on mower that it had a flat tyre, rather than persevere through what I felt was merely a general state of being unfit.

If only I’d booked my blade edger in for a service sooner, I may not have had to tackle the 100 metres of driveway edging with a whipper snipper.

If only!

Two days afterwards, I woke up with back pain which, throughout the day, proceeded to move around to my left hip, then down my left leg. At first, I didn’t make the connection between incident and injury. How often do we do that?

If only I’d sought medical assistance after two days, rather than gritting my teeth through pain and dosing up on medication for almost another week before seeing a Physiotherapist.

If only I’d sought the advice of my GP first, rather than go to my default of booking in with the Physio, thinking, here we go again with another back problem.

If only I’d had the MRI before the first two physio appointments, for surely, the treatment I received may have been significantly different given the fact that I was eventually diagnosed with four bulging discs at L4/L5.

It’s been four weeks of pain, medication, broken sleep, sleeping in chairs, intensive physio, rehabilitation exercises, limping and, generally being unable to put in a full day in the office.

If only.

And yet, we do this all the time, don’t we, particularly in our businesses?

If only we’d counselled that staff member sooner, we may not have ended up with the issues in the workshop or on site that we did.

If only we’d trained our team up in the technical areas that are important in our business, rather than leave them to their own devices, we may not have risked their health or the reputation of our business.

If only we’d replaced that item of equipment when it started to malfunction, rather than band-aid it until it really went pear-shaped, when things were flat out and we had no back up.

If only we had the right level of insurance cover before the fire, the accident or the incident.

If only we’d undertaken a credit check on the new client before taking them on – then worrying after four months if we were ever going to get paid.

At times, in an attempt to rush to the solution, we misdiagnose the true issue at hand – or fail to diagnose it at all. Other times, we rush to get the job done or come up with a quick solution for the client that doesn’t factor in everything that is important to figure out not only what the right solution is for the client, but what the actual problem is in the first place.

How often do we over-engineer the answer rather than take the time to get to the root cause of the problem – and most likely find out that far less engineering and far less time can be invested than what we first envisaged?

All of this is why it’s important to stop, take a step back and go back to base principles when something goes wrong. It could save you a lot of pain, cost and discomfort, no matter what your issue happens to be.

To find the true answer to a problem, try out the concept of the “5 Whys?”.
When presented with a problem, ask yourself why?
In response to that answer, ask yourself why again and so forth until the 5th why.
At that point, you’ve often reached the heart of the matter.