Tips for Lean Managers

Porque é que esta água fria?

By Jon Miller Published on March 2nd, 2009

amazon sunset.JPGThat is how the sun sets over the Amazon in the evening. But today let’s talk about how the water comes out of the shower in the morning, which is to say cold.
When this happens one is faced with three choices: wait until the water warms up before taking the shower, get out without taking a shower and “hit the day rugged” as my dear deceased uncle would say before another day on the farm, or step right under the cold flow and get yourself clean. After a few dozen futile tests of the water (warmer yet? how ’bout now? still not warmer?) with fingers and toes, the decision strikes you: get cold and wet now or wait until kingdom come. It’s never pleasant, or as bad as it seems, once you get on with it.
As I was congratulating myself for doing the right thing, in one small way, so early in the morning so early in the week, it struck me that this is the exact same dilemma many people face when confronting change, be it following through on a personal commitment or a corporate business excellence transformation. We are faced with three choices.
The first is to wait until the water warms up and the conditions are comfortable enough (if not “just right”) to step in and make the change. These people miss their appointment with destiny, or with the Brazilian colleague in my case.
The second is to step away from the change and continue as if everything is okay and that nobody will notice that you stink and your hair is a mess, or that your business is heading down the same sinkhole because the water was too cold and scary to take the splash. These people lack either sense, a sense of urgency or the ability to lock eyes with reality.
The third choice is to step into the cold shower and shiver yourself to warmth, getting clean with the minimum time and effort. These people know what must be done, are focused and can ignore or tolerate short-term discomfort for the sake of the greater long-term good.
Maybe the water is sometimes cold to remind us of something. My hat is off to all of you who have the courage and grit to step into the cold water or worse, doing the right thing even when it is hard.

  1. Ron Pereira

    March 2, 2009 - 9:03 pm

    Don’t forget to keep your mouth closed tight in the shower… lest the Amazon jungle really bites you… if you know what I mean. Gargling with mouth wash while shivering in the shower works for me when in Brazil.

  2. John Santomer

    March 3, 2009 - 7:49 am

    I wish business or life we live in is just as easy as taking cold water in the bath. With the current financial times it would take more than just “shivering” yourself to warmth. But that does not mean that you don’t hit the shower when all else dictates for you to take it now. Some of us, mix the cold water with hot, making it lukewarm and thus bearable to pour onto yourself – but there is one downside to that. Taking lukewarm water will save you from the initial shivers, but once you get out of the bathroom door and go head for work – the room temperature or the atmospheric temperature will soon catch up with you. If your body resistance is not that resilient, it will catch a cold. But then if you foresee these to happen and have taken carefull steps not to get a cold- “strategic planning” comes into play. The defining factor now would be – “How much time do you have to take that shower cold or lukewarm?” Americans usually take the cold shivers as a “wake-up call” to jolt them to alertness. Yet others with heating systems mix hot and cold water taking preventive measures in catching a cold.Whichever choice they take, the losing hand would always be not taking the shower at all – hygienically or strategically.

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