Becoming Our Best

(I should have listened to the Expert!)

Recently Martha and I rode horseback on a Wyoming wilderness trip, We were allowed to carry a minimum of personal gear on our horses and the pack mules carried the remainder. Before getting on my horse, I put my black jacket in a white plastic bag to keep it from being covered in horsehair (The bag and jacket would be tied to the saddle). The pack trip owner/expert said to me, "Are you sure you want to put that jacket in a white plastic bag? It may "spook" the horse." I eventually ignored what he said decided to tie the bag on the saddle anyway.

We were quietly riding along the trail a few hours later when the wind began to blow hard, causing the white plastic bag to snap sharply. The horse looked back and saw a white, moving object out of the corner of her eye and took off running as fast as she could, passing the pack mules and the guide. As a result the other horses and the fully-loaded pack mules decided to race with my horse.

After a few hundred yards of my hanging on to the reins for dear life and shouting "Whoa!!!!!" the horse stopped. Once she was calmed down I carefully removed my jacket from its plastic bag, tied the jacket back on the saddle and breathed a sigh of relief. There were no further problems.

So what might be useful to you to learn from this experience? Here are a few lessons I learned (or re-learned):

We pay experts for their opinions. Listen carefully.
If the expert's advice is not clear, ask questions to clarify it.
Determine in advance the expected consequences of not following the expert's advice.

Through this experience I re-learned some lessons the hard way. Thankfully there were no injuries or damage involved. My hope is that you can learn from my mistake, pass along these concepts to your team and get the most from an expert's recommendations.

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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