It’s expensive to own 4 redneckafied children. I’ve worked several days in a row and look forward to an ATV ride. I filled the ATV after my last ride. As I turn on the key it becomes obvious I need gas again today despite not touching the ATV for over a week. I reach for my largest gas can. The big can is empty. I start searching for one of my smaller cans. A smaller gas can is on the seat of the kids ATV. It seems both their ATV and this small can are empty. I see another can next to their minibike. You guessed correctly, there is a gas shortage at RNR. Like most issues around here, this can be solved with dad’s wallet.
Years ago this simple issue would have me angry. It seems so simple to leave a note, make a call or send dad a text asking for more gas. Was my kids solution to stop riding the machines until dad discovers the gas shortage? Years of managing people has offered a different perspective. It’s better to coach the correct behavior and set expectations. I still let the consequences of poor choices be felt. I have a plan for this now.
My experiences tell me people would rather walk away from a simple thing then ask for it to be corrected. I’m not sure if it’s caused by fear of liability or just an inability to problem solve. Let me explain further with toilet paper(TP) as an example. If I walk into a stall I check the TP situation prior to any need for it. If I see there is not enough for the coming task I will use the next stall. Then I inform an attendant of the shortage. It’s the informing of the attendant I think most people skip. Most take what they need then leave the problem unresolved because it no longer effects them directly. An empty TP roll also indicates the cleanliness of some users. Did they really run out at the exact same time the need for TP was completed? (Gross).
Let’s take this a step further in a less disgusting area. Let’s say you go to your bank. The pens are all chained to a desk. You are using a pen. The pen stops writing. What do you do?
A) Put the pen back where you found it and seek a working pen.
B) Advise the teller and seek a new pen.
I argue that most of our population solves their own problem by seeking the next pen. They are not going to be tasked with the difficulty of informing a teller about the pen needing replaced. They may even utter words of discontent that the bank has provided a faulty pen. There is also a good chance the teller has been watching people try to get that pen to write all day. The teller may even say to herself, some one should change that pen. What ever happened to problem solving skills and the initiative to use them.
For the record, I will buy some more gas. However, I will let my kids bikes continue to be out of gas until they ask for more. I will coach them to ask for gas prior to creating a shortage. I want my kids to be foreword thinkers. They should be solving problems before there are problems. Plan ahead then act your plan. Think of the next person coming to use the TP, ATV or pen. We can be better citizens.