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Edition 412 – When The Slow Lane, Is The Fast Lane

It’s Friday evening. I’m heading home after a late appointment in North Sydney. The traffic is surprisingly quiet at 7pm as I head across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. To my left, I can see the Brilliance of the Seas manoeuvring away from the Overseas Passenger Terminal and preparing to do its miraculous turn in front of the glorious Sydney Opera House. You never, ever get tired of that scene.

Eventually hitting the 100 km/h zone on the M5, under the King Georges Road overpass, I stick the boot into the family truckster, the diesel powered Ford Territory. The reasonable incline as the speed changes from 80 to 100 means you have to give it some welly to get up the hill, and maintain speed. I’m in the right lane, as I’m moving faster than those in the centre lane. It’s just that no one in front of me is and before long, you’re 10 under the speed limit.

I spot a gap, change to the centre lane, then change to the far left lane. The slow lane. So much for “Keep Left Except Overtaking”. If only the NSW Police enforced that rule! Right along, past the toll gantry at Hammondville, I’m still in the left lane, overtaking dawdlers in the centre and right lanes. It’s like the left lane has contracted COVID and no one wants to be near it. Undertaking is also against the law, but what are you to do when the road is polluted with right lane hogs?

Have you ever noticed that, if you slow things down, you speed up?

We’re crazy, busy, particularly as we’ve jumped into a New Year. New quotes. New opportunities. New clients. It’s the mad dash from point A to point B. Except, if you’re in the fast lane, you’re actually slowing down.

You rush things, then inevitably make mistakes. The mistakes take longer to fix than the original problem you were looking to solve. Going fast, ends up slowing you down.

You don’t on-board staff correctly, thinking that as they have a heartbeat, they should be able to do the job. When the client rings and says that if that person comes back to site, the deal is off, you run around trying to figure out what went wrong and how to rectify it. More of that fast, slowing you down again.

You make a snap decision about buying a new vehicle. It’s a good deal and the salesman is on your back. You jump and somehow, make the purchase work. Except, when it turns up all shiny and new at your workplace, the people you employ, and that need it to drive around to service your customers, can’t drive a manual. If only you’d asked them first, you’d have saved yourself the hassle of selling that truck, then buying a new one – automatic of course.

If 2024 has started with you in the fast lane, what progress are you making? Are the decisions you’re making considered before they’re implemented. Or is it management on the run?

When you look back at the last 6 weeks, since you returned from the Christmas break, what’s worked and what hasn’t? Are you feeling flustered, yet also feeling like you’re not making progress? Are you fighting understeer, or oversteer, and losing traction in the process?

Or, are you driving in the slow lane? Thinking carefully about the work you take on, the resources you engage and the way you manage your business. Are you looking ahead for the gaps in the traffic? Are you changing lanes before the next freeway on-ramp to allow the traffic entering to get up to speed, whilst also maintaining your momentum and not rear-ending them?

It’s a great time to reflect. If what you’re doing now, is working for you, the year will be good. If what you’re doing now, isn’t working for you, what’s the year going to pan out like?

This Week’s Tip

“Slow down to speed up.”