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Thinking Things Through

March 7, 2022by Barbara Flynn0

I planned on renovating my home office. In addition to fresh paint and window treatments, I wanted to rearrange the furniture. Having the big bookshelf on the opposite side of the room would look so much better. I laid it all out in my mind and was ready to move forward. But then, I realized that on the opposite wall to where I wanted to move the bookshelf was the internet connection. If I moved the bookshelf to that wall, I would block access to the internet line, which would be a big problem should any repairs be needed. Thank goodness, I thought of it before I got started and moved the heavy, big shelf. If I hadn’t thought of it, I would have moved the shelf just to move it back to its original wall. I was glad I thought about that in time.

How many times do we think we have it all figured out to just at the end find that we overlooked something of importance or made an error and must start over? In the business world, that costs extra resources, which could be significant. And all that because we didn’t think things through. Remember the Mars rover that crashed upon landing into the planet and shattered to pieces because the engineers on Earth programmed the landing distance using for measurement feet and inches instead of the metric system with meters and centimeters? This mistake cost NASA millions of dollars. The rover was lost. Another example was the Hubble telescope which launched into Earth’s orbit in 1990. It took many years to build it, and its launch was delayed by 7 years due to funding problems. When it finally launched and everyone on our planet was glued to the TVs to see the first pictures from space transmitted by Hubble, there was huge disappointment. The pictures were of terrible quality! It turned out that Hubble’s main mirror had not being grounded correctly. What a huge error! How could this have been overlooked? A team of astronauts had to go on a service mission into space in 1993 to correct the optics on the telescope. Again, a basic error resulting in incredible cost and additional resources.

It shows the importance of going through all details, following checklists, double and triple checking the details, and collaborating with others. The goal is to get it right at the first time. Rushing through planning and engineering is detrimental to the success and can result in losses due to oversights and mistakes. It is well worth to take the extra time and think things through.

Marlies McKie

Barbara Flynn

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