Short lecture on rivers LO24002

From: Scott Simmerman (
Date: 02/18/00

Replying to LO23978 --

Dear LO'ers,

I've been lurking too much lately and Leo Minnigh's eloquent Rivers Theme
(LO23978 ) got me thinking of another useful story that relates to these
thoughts and possibly adds some additional perspective.

You may have heard the story of the very bright engineering student who
was hired as a summer Park Ranger and who was involved in some of the new
road construction in one of the National Forests. He had heard about this
most wonderful expert road builder who built the best and longest lasting
roads all over the country.

On meeting this renown builder, the student was not terribly impressed.
But on watching him supervise a job, he was appalled.

It seemed that the most logical places for culverts and other draining
systems were being ignored as this master builder created this new road
through the forest. It was most unbelievable how this master could miss
so many places, judging by the watershed and the surrounding hills, and it
was very obvious that this new road would be ruined at the first rain.

Thus, the student waited until the first rain.

And it came.

And it was only then, with the help of the rain, that the master builder
knew EXACTLY where to locate the drainage needs of this new road and how
he could construct it so that it would last for decades.

It wasn't about predicting where the rain might fall as much as observing
what the rain actually did that gave this master builder the information
he needed.

How often is this the case in our organizations. We can certainly plan
for eventualities, but it is also useful to observe what is and has
happened in order to better understand what to do for the future.


For the FUN of It!

Scott J. Simmerman, Ph.D. Performance Management Company - 800-659-1466

Designer of Square Wheels training tools and other team products <>

"The fog of confusion floated around their wagon like wool on a sheep."

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