We regularly take the kids to the pier to fish for crabs each summer. We take our sticks, string, chicken and net out there to catch crabs. The kids love it because it’s easy. It doesn’t require much skill or patience so even my 3 year old is entertained. We catch the crabs and put them in a bucket until we’re done. Afterwards we dump out the bucket and the crabs scramble to get back into the water. It’s cheap entertainment for the entire family. The other night we looked inside one of the crab pots that people put out in the sound to catch crabs and noticed that there were 20 – 30 large crabs inside. We were all ready to go out and buy a crab pot until we started talking about what our goal was. Our real goal wasn’t to catch crabs to eat. Our goal was entertainment. Suddenly the crab pot method was not looking like a good idea. The kids wouldn’t enjoy the process as much and the adults would then have to prepare the crabs to eat. In the end, we decided that catching crabs on the string was the right method for us. This story makes me think about how we typically jump to take action without considering what it is that we’re trying to accomplish. Sure, the crab pot seemed like an exciting idea because we would catch lots of crabs, but it really wasn’t the best step for our family. How often do we implement a new policy, procedure or program without thinking about the end result?
I’d love to hear your examples where the actions didn’t really align with the purpose.