Friday, August 29, 2008

Time May Be Money, But No Time To Think May Cost You More Money

In my bio, I said that one of my objectives was to get you to think about things that the preoccupation of your careers and family duties would prevent. Today, I realized that time to think might be more scarce than I might have imagined. It just may be that the frantic pace of our lives to increase productivity might actually start to become counterproductive when the consequence of the pressure to produce begins to preclude our ability to think about what we are doing.

For those of you who do not know—I am a big time tool guy. Not only do I have the full panoply of wood working machinery, commercial quality of course, but I also have a metal lathe, welding equipment etc. During my career I did a lot of work with my tools, designing and building cabinets and furniture among the numerous other repairs and improvements that a house requires.

In the last 10 years or so of my formal working career I did less and less of this work and the jobs requiring attention around the house accumulated. When I retired the jobs needing attention was overwhelming. In addition, I was older, and the ability to use brute force to move things was not the alternative it used to be.

Have you noticed the change in the profession the last 15 years or so—the fact that you appear to have less time to think about what you are doing because of the pressure to get it done or is just me?

Well today I was tackling the repair of my 100+ year old stable (really a shed) converted to a workshop. Rafters had to be replaced—and there I was with 12 ft water-soaked rot resistant 2X6s. Brute force to get these into place under an existing roof was not an option. But do you know what I had—I had time to think about how to do it by myself. And with time to think about a solution, it turned out to be quite a manageable task. I have found that time and again lately—the time to think about a problem made its solution manageable and quite efficient.

It occurred to me that the same might be true if I had to confront a legal problem. Rather than being forced to leap in by time pressure for a solution—if I had time to think that solution might be better and more efficient--any thoughts?

Shortly, I will begin to develop my theories about why lawyers automatically apply legal process to solve problems and do not think about alternative, more efficient solutions at a graduate school of business. Hopefully businessmen will be able to recognize and manage the problem. Law schools are part of the cause of this problem, but not taking or having time to think about solutions might well be another.

-Larry Salibra
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