Brenda’s Blog – August 28, 2018
“What could go wrong?”
Counting Cars features Count’s Kustom hot rods and choppers. It is one of my favorite History Channel shows. On one episode several of the employees worked to sell Danny, the owner, on the purchase of new equipment. They sold hard, giving enthusiastic reasons why this made total sense. They went on and on while Danny listened. Finally, they stopped and he said, “What could go wrong?”
The conversation stopped and they started thinking about the question. The quality of the question intrigued me.
My son, Jeff Horch, told me one time, “Mom, you love ideas. When you are with people who are enthusiastically throwing ideas around, you get all caught up. Why don’t you ask, ‘Who is going to champion this idea and manage it?’ If they don’t take it on, leaving it to you, then thank them and move on.” Jeff knew when I took on too much, things can go terribly wrong.
Many times it is easy to get captured by the sparkling benefits of something new. It grabs our attention, starts our mind racing, and engages our emotions. Before we make bad decisions, wouldn’t it be good to stop and assess, “What could go wrong?” When we fall in love with a new outfit, car, or even a house, creating a neutral space for our thinking is critical.
Frequently businessmen came to visit Dad, asking his counsel about taking a second generation into the company. After Dad listened to all the positives about carrying on the family tradition, Dad would ask one question: “How are you going to tell your wife you are firing her beloved son?” What he was saying: “If things don’t go well and you have to separate the son from the business you aren’t removing an employee, you are firing your wife’s son.” Suddenly, the emphasis is more on family than on business. Dad’s bottom line was always, “Never hire a relative until you have figured out how you are going to fire them.” Not that the owner would have to, but he has to understand and prepare beforehand for the “what could go wrong.”
Successful decision making considers all elements of the outcomes.