Forget it. Drive On.
At the beginning of this year, my wife and I realized it was time to upgrade her 10-year-old SUV. Our frugal bent and my wife’s sense of style came together when we found a 3-year-old off-lease premium SUV. Our frugal bent was satisfied with the significant savings compared with buying a new car. Her sense of style was met by the bells-and-whistles of a premium brand: a beautiful leather interior, panoramic sunroof, backup camera, heated (and cooled!) seats and an internal navigation system. It’s been a dream to drive for the last few months!
We decided to really “break it in” by taking it for a several-week, several-thousand-mile road trip with a couple of our dogs. I had work in several cities during this stint, so we plotted our route to get us to dog-friendly hotels and Airbnb’s along the way, and we never traveled more than 300 miles a day so we could enjoy a more relaxed pace and take time to see some of the sites.
Old Maps Don’t Work.
On our trip, we also learned something that was a little alarming at first. The internal navigation system in our SUV hadn’t been updated since the car was new. Routing on major highways was typically not a problem, but for the specific in-city details, or whenever we were somewhere that had road work done in the past three years, the navigation system was out of date.
At those times, the navigation might show us driving right through a building or out in a field or somewhere in the middle of a parking lot. After a short time of confusion, the navigation system would reset itself and we’d be back on the roads it knew.
But – until we realized what was happening – those times of confusion were stressful …. and all we could do was keep driving on the road that was in front of us. (We quickly realized we were forced to jump on Apple Maps at times – which had us burn through our monthly data plan more rapidly than we anticipated. Note: we also have an appointment at the local dealership to install the upgraded mapping software.)
Here’s the other thing I noticed, fellow leader: when the navigation reset itself and got us back on the right path, it didn’t apologize for the mistake. It didn’t hang its head in shame. It didn’t continue to feel remorse for the mistake it made. In fact, it didn’t look back at all. It simply reset and pointed down the road.
Old Leadership Maps Don’t Work Either.
It is ironic that the car’s maps are out of date specifically regarding these last three years. These are the same three years many of our leadership maps are out of date. Covid 19, shuttered businesses, work from home, social unrest, political strife, the great resignation, staffing shortages and angry customers, re-opening efforts but with new and ever-changing guidelines, etc. etc. etc. It seems none of our old maps apply any more. And – they continue to change in front of our very eyes.
Several years ago, I watched a podcast where the presenter shared the acronym “FIDO” as his suggestion on how to handle disappointments and mistakes: Forget It. Drive On. Learn from your mistakes, put things in place to minimize the same issues moving forward, but don’t dwell on the past. Forget it and Drive on.
As I reflected on our 3-year-old mistake-making navigation system, I realized it practices its own version of “Software FIDO.” No remorse – just recalibration.
No Remorse. Just Recalibration.
Leader, what are ways that you can help to navigate your teams through our ongoing uncertainty? In what ways have you experienced the need to “right” yourself – and perhaps just as importantly, where do you need to forgive yourself and move forward? How can you use this example to create confidence with your team? And most importantly, where do you need to give yourself and them permission to practice FIDO?