When You’re in a River of Flaming Shit

When I was the IT Director of Faultless Caster Corporation in Evansville, Indiana, I led a cultural transformation by implementing a new enterprise (ERP) system. About ¾ through the implementation, it felt like we were being nibbled to death by a school of rubber-toothed piranhas, and frustration was climbing to dangerous levels. In the weekly Steering Committee meeting, the VP of Sales and Marketing asked the inevitable question: “Hey, I’m not sure this is a good idea. Why don’t we just go back to the old system?” The CEO replied, “When you’re in the middle of a river of flaming shit, you gotta keep paddling toward the other side.”

We kept paddling, the new system came live (only a couple weeks late), and paid itself back in a year with increased sales, reduced costs, etc., etc., etc.

I draw on this and comparable experiences when I find myself in a similar situation. That’s when I get really “persistent” and continue paddling toward the other side. (Other people are mule-headed and stubborn, I’m goal-oriented and persistent.)

Have you ever been in the middle of a river of flaming shit? I’d enjoy hearing your story. I’ll buy the coffee.

Gary Langenwalter, 971-221-8155

gary@portlandconsultinggroup.com

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