All because of a broken pinky – bad things happen all the time in life and in business.

Six weeks ago, my horse, Wyatt, and I were practicing for up an upcoming Western Pleasure show. Each time we passed the main gate of the arena (passing the feeding  barn), he gently reminded me that it was dinner- time. After a little extra urging with my heels, we continued on without any worries.

Near the end of our practice, we were cantering our last lap around the arena when he decided it was time.  It was time for dinner!  He hit the brakes, stopping us both short.  In an attempt to catch myself my right pinky finger got tangled up in his reins and mane and I felt the snap!

At my check up, I learned that my finger wasn’t healing.

The surgeon had more bad news for me.  He informed me that my finger probably wouldn’t have broken if it weren’t for the benign tumor hollowing out the inside of the bone of my finger.

Again, WHAT?  I mean, who has ever heard of such a thing?

It was just a broken pinky, wasn’t it?  How did I go from a quick short stop on a horse to having bone drilled into and replaced almost four months later?

But, doesn’t this happen in business more often than we realize?

Sometimes there is some weird (not even noticeable) underlying problem that somehow snowballs into a catastrophe.

Before we know it, the problem is taking its course of action and we are scrambling to make sense of how such a little thing became so burdensome. It starts to suck the life out of us after a while.

After all, I was shocked on week four that the healing process wasn’t going as planned.  That happens too.  Sometimes we have the best laid plans for correcting a bad business deal, unhappy employee or customer, or getting equipment on the floor back up and running on time.  Life happens.  Stuff happens.  Business happens.  And, the recovery process sometimes takes just a little bit longer than we’d like it to.

We learn from these situations. We learn to not take the little things for granted. We learn that if we ignore little brewing issues, they have the potential of blowing up in our faces. That’s not to say that we have to stand vigilant over every minor detail.  Lord knows, in business, there are a lot of them; but, it’s important to pay attention.

I could have been paying more attention to Wyatt.  I know him better than that.  I know he usually takes his smarty-pants self to the next level if he doesn’t think you’re paying attention.  No, I couldn’t have ever known that my little pinky was slowly being eaten away by something as odd as a growing tumor, but it reminded me that paying attention is important, recovery often takes much longer than expected or hoped for, and it’s important to surround ourselves with the experts who can help us fix and get through the messes we sometimes find ourselves in.

Welcome my latest Guest Blogger Annie!

About the author:  Annie Shetler is a Business Consultant with the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center and Coordinator of Business Training Alliance of Wexford and Missaukee Counties. Employed by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments for the past six years, Annie still finds time to work with her family who owns and operates Shetler Family Dairy located in Kalkaska, Michigan.


About HRMexplorer

Managing Director - Human Capital Europe and USA - My ability is to recognize ingrained assumptions and patterns of operation that aren’t productive, and offer practical, cost-effective and value-based solutions.

Posted on June 27, 2011, in HRMexplorer Blogs. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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