Go with the flow Featured

10:46am EDT July 21, 2004
For more than seven years, my morning commute to Smart Business has essentially been the same. Even when we moved into our new headquarters, the only change was the addition of a few more exits down I-90 West.

I am a creature of habit. When I find a desirable routine, I stick with it. So I was frustrated recently when I encountered a detour at the street that connects to where I enter the highway.

After grumbling that my usual route had been blocked, I snaked through several side streets to reach a different entrance ramp. There, I found a police car blocking the way.

"Construction at the top of the ramp," the cop said. "Ramp will probably be closed for a while."

I grumbled some more, but told myself this wouldn't be a problem because I knew there was another entrance ramp a couple blocks away.

Instead, I discovered another blocked ramp and more construction.

By the time I found an open entrance ramp -- on my fourth attempt -- and was cruising along on my way to work, I was talking to myself, and not constructively.

When I finally arrived -- more than 20 minutes later than usual -- I realized the futility of my mutterings. The most important thing was that I tried and found a different way to reach my ultimate destination -- the office.

Many of you have established similar routines when it comes to how you run your business. You set up effective policies and procedures that get you and your company to where you want it to be. And most of the time, you don't think twice about it.

But it's also safe to assume that, eventually, you'll face a roadblock and have to take a detour to reach your intended business destination. That's OK, as long as you don't spend too much time obsessing about the problem.

Instead, focus on the solution -- finding an alternative path that allows you to reach your goal. Otherwise, you may find you're muttering to yourself about the frustration, and others will think you've lost your marbles instead of simply your comfortable routine.