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Fundamental #25 – Stop and Think

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There’s always more to the story than meets the eye.  Be quick to ask and slow to judge.  Learn to gather the facts before making judgments.  Be curious about what other information might give you a more complete picture.

This is a good follow up to the last few weeks fundamentals, work for the assumption people are good fair and honest and be a smart decision maker.  The process of stop and think connects with these as part of a larger process of making good decisions.  Every day in our workplace we encounter situations where stopping and thinking could improve the decision we are making, reduce the time to complete a task, help find the solution to a problem or simply improve personal buy-in.

Think of when you make a decision, simple as what time to set your alarm or as complicated as what order to assemble a complicated weldment.   If you stop and take the time to think, you will certainly improve the result of your decision, arriving at work on time or producing a quality part under the standard. 

How many times a day do you find yourself asking the question “What were they thinking?  Why did they do this?”  Followed by making judgments about why the people or person in question made the mistake.  It is easy to assume when people make mistakes that you know the reasons why, and sometimes you do.  It is still a good practice to stop and think about what happened.  Gather more information; try to think about things from a different perspective.  After taking to time to follow this process and feel that you have a complete picture of the situation, you will make better decisions.  It is also important to remember to be patient with each other and allow for stop and think to take place.

It only takes a minute to think things over and can save hours, dollars, and hassle for you and everyone up and downstream from you in the process.  So try to incorporate this fundamental into your daily process both at work and at home and you will find that the quality of your workmanship and your life will be improved.  

– Scott Marshall