My mind was wandering as I navigated a few miles across my great city at the weekend. The traffic was OK but a bit slower than you’d like.
I started to ponder how we navigate organisations with a few thoughts prompted by one particular driver. I was reminded of something.
A number of years ago I was given sound advice by a London taxi driver. “If you choose not to be wound up by others’ driving and to do to others as you would be done to, it’s not so bad driving around town.”
In other words ‘choosing how to react to the world around you’. That comes up as a theme in my executive coaching sessions with reasonable regularity.
Back to the driver. She (it was a she but could just as well have been a he – gender is not my point here) was hovering around my rear bumper as we all sat in a queue of cars – pulling in and out for some reason. She then cut me up in a fairly spectacular way as I braked for some traffic lights and took her place in front. She didn’t quite cause a shunt. “What was all that about?” asked my better half.
The behaviour then became worthy of note. Over the next couple of miles this car (more to the point… this driver) went straight across a red light, careered down a “right turn only” lane in order to try (and fail) to get past another couple of cars, blocked a side road so another driver could not pull out, nearly knocked someone down on a zebra crossing, failed to see that an elderly person was trying to get across at another point (everyone else stopped for her) and, from where I was sitting, kept trying to cut past cars ahead of her. Aggressive would be a fair adjective for the behaviour.
Time to take that taxi driver’s advice and just notice it. Letting it become irritating will achieve nothing. Perhaps there’s an emergency….
But no – nearer home and she pulled into our road with me still right behind her. When I parked at my house I could see her just unloading her shopping in a relaxed way.
So what’s going on here? All that stress, all those near-misses, that red-light crashed through, the jostling for position. And yet she didn’t make any progress whatsoever. I was still right there – arriving home just behind her.
Almost reads like some people’s approach to organisational life.
What if, instead, we let others go first a little more often, choose not to jostle for position, take care of pedestrians, don’t ‘cut people up’ and generally take a less challenging approach to how we interact with our colleagues? That would be a positive contribution to the culture around us would it not?
In other words reduce the interference for everyone else. And for yourself.
And even, just possibly, relax?
(Photography by me as ever. Hope you like it. And you can find out more about my coaching practice here)