Decisions and the Ducks
When I was a kid growing up, my grandparents had a small farm.On the farm was a barn which had a small pond about 20 yards from the back of the barn.From the front of the barn the distance was about 30 yards.The front of the barn was where the fence that kept me from running down the hill to the pond and also kept the big bull that grandpa kept in that field.
Just like any young boy, I would pick up a rock from the drive and throw as hard as I could to see if I could get it into pond.Now as a young one, I could barely get it past the barn but when I finally got big enough to put the rock in the pond I wanted to throw bigger rocks and make a bigger splash.
As the rocks got bigger, the splash and resulting waves got bigger too.I started noticing how the waves would affect all of the other things in the pond.Ducks would squawk, lily pads would move up and down and frogs would jump back into the pond.I realized how much that one event (the rock going into the pond) did more than make a splash.
When we make decisions, put something into motion or do anything in life, there is more effected than what we see. Sometimes the effect is widespread; sometimes it is localized.All things we do in life do more than make the initial splash.
In business, decisions affect multiple areas.Say you decide to hire more employees for your production line, well not only is production effected but also human resources (got to have all those papers filled out and the employees processed for all benefits), cash flow (now you have to have the cash to pay for the new employees and the related costs) and taxes (do you qualify for special incentives/credits for some of the hires) along with logistics (do you have the space for parking, lunchroom, desks, etc.).There is probably more but we could go on and on.
Each area affected by our decisions is like one of those ducks floating on grandpa’s pond.When you make a decision (throw the rock in the pond) it will affect those ducks.How much it affects them is how important the decision is (how big the rock is).The ducks may only be gently rocked about or they may be made to fly off because the waves upset them too much.We should always be aware of what effect we will have on the “ducks on the pond”.
Important decisions made quickly, without thorough thought, seem to be those which upset the ducks the most because we usually don’t realize they are there.They hide in the weeds along the edge.Sometimes the pond is so big we miss the edges when we concentrate only on the site where the rock hits the water. Sometimes the ducks get on the pond just as you are throwing the rock.
Taking time to make decisions is important.Evaluate all areas that will, or could be, affected by the decision.Seek counsel from others who has experienced this type of decision before to see if you are missing something.You will not see all the ducks on the pond but the more you do and prepare for their reaction the better prepared you will be for all of the outcomes of your decision.