At our recent Client Conference, Garry Ridge, the President of WD-40 and my coauthor on the book How to Win at Work, was one of the keynote speakers. He was just marvelous. The concept he talked about, which is in our book, was alarm bells.
He told how he was in a hotel room in London one evening and was getting ready to watch an English comedy and have a couple of beers when he heard an alarm start ringing. He didn’t pay any attention to it—like we sometimes do with alarms because they often go off by mistake. But all of a sudden, someone was banging on the door and telling him to get outside. So he found himself outside wearing just his shorts and T-shirt and those slippers you get at hotels. He ended up out there for a couple of hours, on a cool London evening. If he had responded to the alarm right away, he might have had time to put on warmer clothing and maybe a jacket. Later, as he was flying home, he started thinking about that incident and about what alarm bells he may have in his personal and professional life that he may not be paying attention to. Garry asked himself what alarms were going off personally—“Well, I’m overweight and not exercising enough.” And in business—“Am I telling people who really work hard that I care about them enough?”
I think an interesting thing for us all to do is get out a sheet of paper, divide it in half—personal and business—and just think about those alarm bells. Is there anything that’s happening that you aren’t paying attention to because of the noise of life, the busy-ness of life, that maybe could be an alarm bell that, if you really paid attention it, you could be better prepared? I just think it’s a wonderful exercise, both personally and in business. Take a look at those alarm bells. I’m going to do some thinking about this myself—what are the things I’m ignoring, and what am I really paying attention to?
Have a great day. Watch out for those alarm bells—they could be there for a reason and might help you more than you think.