The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was founded over 50 years ago and was charged with the task of reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from auto accidents. There have been numerous traffic studies, some seeming to contradict one another, in regard to causes and reasons for accidents. Many factors have been cited such as speeding, driver inattention or intoxication, poor weather conditions, improper design and in more recent times, multi-tasking.
Remarkably, one statistic has held true for every study they’ve done. Namely, you are about 12 times less likely to be involved in a traffic accident when you are driving on a one-way street. Having single-mindedness can reduce our accidents in life as well.
We tend to celebrate the freedom of having lots of options and choices, but sometimes identifying the illusive “one thing” or that “primary purpose” is what gives focus to our career and our organization.
Football or Soccer
Though two people show up at the ice rink with skates, it doesn’t mean they came for the same purpose. One may be thinking ice hockey and the other figure skating. Both are skating sports, but there is bound to be trouble in their future. Also, knowing that when we are talking about “football,” the game we are referring to is the one played with an oblong ball that you throw, not a round ball that you kick, can greatly reduce frustration.
Similarly, though we may be interested in many things, which is healthy and makes us well rounded, we can’t be good at doing many things. In all likelihood, even the most talented are great at just one thing. The same is true for most organizations.
I was recently in a conversation with two highly successful businessmen who were discussing where their company was and where they wanted to take it. It was clear to the three of us that one of the core issues with their growing operation and expanding personnel, was that everyone coming to play, was not necessarily playing the same game or at least not with the same game plan.
Without that clarity of knowing who we are, what our purpose is, what our core values are, in uncertain times we are likely to follow any thing with an air of certainty that comes our way.
Where Ya Headed?
I once read about a woman who was driving home one night in a nasty rainstorm. It was the kind Florida is famous for, where the rain is coming down in buckets and visibility is practically non-existent.
Seeing taillights, about 30 feet beyond her hood, she followed the car in front of her. Though she couldn’t see well, the vehicle ahead of her seemed to be going in the right direction. So, she stuck with it. All of a sudden, the car in front of her came to a stop.
She began to wonder what had happened; perhaps they had hit something. She began to feel uncomfortable; thinking being stopped in the middle of the road can often lead to accidents. Much to her alarm the car then turned off their lights. Her concern was now growing, as well as her anger.
Then, she was startled to see the driver approach her car and knock on her window. She cracked the window open and asked the man what the problem was. He replied by stating, “That was the question I was going to ask you.” She retorted that she wasn’t the one who had stopped in the middle of the road and then turned off their lights. Shielding himself against the driving rain, he said that they were not in the middle of the road but were instead in his driveway!