Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A tragic reminder to slow down, think

The Japan train derailment struck me on a number of levels. Sadness for those affected. Memories of the by-the-second accuracy I learned to expect and demand while traveling by train in Japan. A wake up call to the frenetic, sometimes thoughtless pace we pursue in business and life.

The train's driver is said to have taken a curve at 100 kph, after running behind at a previous station - for reference, Japanese trains do not run late. I can't adequately express the level of expectation Japanese passengers and the rail operators have for timeliness.

This is a tragic reminder of a very real problem most of us have in our lives and in our jobs: we move too fast, oftentimes at the expense of thinking.

Yesterday, Fast Company's blog related this tragedy to an essay by Jena McGregor on performance and getting off the "treadmill" of expectations.

My response to FC's post:

As a former Japan Rail passenger and current "treadmill" runner, the derailment is a reminder that anyone can run (even run very, very fast), but few navigate. Businesses would benefit from changing expectations to encourage navigation rather than the frenetic, reckless running that has become the norm.

Value thought as much as speed and clients, companies and lives will benefit.


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