For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about some of my favorite Pop Joe idioms. So far I’ve shared "You can get happy in those same britches that you got sad in," "Don’t make me pull this car over," and “Too much sugar for a dime.” For the final blog in this series, we have another Pop Joe classic, “We will cross that bridge when we get to it.”
You might recall as a kid or if you are presently raising kids (God bless you), with kids there seems to be a constant barrage of requests, begging, demanding or pleading for future promises, permissions or time commitments. Certainly as Mike, Mitzi and I were growing up, we were constantly making future requests as we had discovered if you ask early and often, there tended to be a little more hope for success—or at least it seemed that way. By the time Mitzi (remember the youngest and only girl) began making these requests, I guess Mike and I had already worn them down as it was rare for Mitzi to have to wait to cross any bridges. In fact, I’m not sure Mitzi ever heard Pop Joe say, “We will cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Of course, this was Pop Joe’s way of saying I’m not going to make that decision right now and Mike and I came to understand that it also brought with it a high probability of a big fat NO later on. There were a lot of bridges that we never saw or came to. Isn’t that odd?
As I reflect on this idiom today in light of the transformation and disruption we see in business models and in our lives, I think we have moved to a speed of change where this idiom could cause us to miss lots of opportunities and bridges. Waiting to make decisions today is frankly not as wise as when we were dealing with Incremental change. Today, if we do not make quick decisions, many times the decisions are made for us or we lose the opportunity altogether. Waiting is actually very risky today. Of course, there are decisions and circumstances when it makes sense to wait as we know there will be more developments to help us. Unfortunately, they are fewer and infrequent.
As a speaker said at the Digital CPA 2017 conference in San Francisco recently, if you wait until you can prove it, you have waited too long. I guess Pop Joe figured this out and started teaching Mitzi by making timely decisions and not waiting to see what was going on later. So my question for us today is, are we finding ourselves waiting to cross a bridge when we get there only to find we missed the bridge altogether by waiting?