The Magoo Syndrome
Suddenly, looking in the rearview mirror, while driving my three grown sons to lunch the other day, I became aware of two sets of eyes fairly bulging out of my younger sons' heads in the backseat.
"Dad! Watch where you're going," their brother Paul all but shouted from the seat next to me as he white-knuckled the dashboard. We had just missed another...what? a lamp post? mailbox?...as I philosophized about politics, the economy...something or other.
Crisis over, the boys had another good laugh about me being like "Mr. Magoo;" generally "scaring the pants off" others around me, they wailed with laughter.
It was mildly rewarding somehow, watching my sons craning their necks and stomping on imaginary brakes at every intersection and lane change, as I drove on. Paul, my eldest son, couldn't help commenting, "Dad, you definitely have The Magoo Syndrome! When you drive you seem totally unaware of all those folks blowing their horns and giving you bad looks, not to mention gestures."
If you're old enough, you may remember Mr. Magoo, a cartoon character my boys and I enjoyed when they were small. "Blind as a bat," the character wore what we called Coke-bottle eye glasses, and drove around in his motor car wreaking havoc wherever he went. Magoo seemed oblivious to everything, as buildings and debris fell around him—people running for their lives. Yet, somehow he managed to avoid one near disaster after another.
For all of my vehicular challenges, it's easy for me to see The Magoo Syndrome is prevalent with many owners and managers in the business world, who seem to be unconscious or indifferent to the pitfalls, errors, bottlenecks, interruptions, miscommunications—not to mention the clutter of paper and other materials strewn all around their offices and plants.
Unfortunately, if you bring it to their attention they'll likely say, "Yes, yes, I see it, but we're still making a profit. And besides, I don't have time to clean it up...that's the way it's ALWAYS been around here!"
How can you argue with that logic, when a Magoo-type business owner seems, somehow, to always land on his feet? Well, to tell the truth, you can't!
However, you might remember, in the cartoon—while Mr. Magoo was smiling, singing and enjoying his day—bedlam breaking out all around him—it was the OTHER people who were the recipients of his erratic and hazardous handling of his vehicle. Those OTHERS were the ones crashing into each other; constantly trying to avoid wrecks, and having to pay for his recklessness.
In the real world, being oblivious is not quite as funny as in the Magoo cartoons. The Mr. Magoo’s in business risk NOT landing on their feet, eventually, and paying a high premium by failing to pay attention to certain others around them—operating as if they haven't a care in the world.
There is a cure for The Magoo Syndrome, if you happen to have it! It may be just a pair of glasses is needed to see the chaos around you. Otherwise, if you stop and listen, you might hear all the frustrated cries—the legitimate voices of those employee and customer complaints.
Hopefully, this would be enough to wake up a Magoo, so they would change the way they operate.
May I suggest—if you've ever been accused of operating like Mr. Magoo—before your employees and customers walk out the door, you might take some time to read a few books on how to stop the "Magoo Syndrome" in your business; the answer is just a link away.
I believe, as owners or managers, it's our responsibility to make our working environment WORKABLE for everyone!
As for me...looks like I might benefit from a Driver's Ed refresher course!
Did I mention? Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.