retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

It has nothing to do with marketing, competition, economics or personnel. Yet I found much to ponder in a recent Washington Post article about reducing traffic fatalities. Robert Thomson, also known as Dr. Gridlock, wrote the following:

“The safety tip that comes up more than any other - and often first - is ‘Wear your safety belt.’ (Transportation experts) say it’s the simplest and most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from injury or death while driving.”

Thomson went on to discuss and praise all the advances being made in vehicle safety from drowsy driver warnings to automatic braking, even while making them all secondary to the “one little thing that’s still under your control.” That’s your seat belt.

I doubt we have many transportation safety experts or car manufacturers reading MNB, although anything is possible. However, I don’t think we need twist ourselves into pretzels to find something to learn from driver safety.

The issue isn’t driver or food safety; rather, it’s about highlighting the simple and most obvious solution that somehow gets overlooked. I’ve been driving a long time and I can’t imagine moving without my seat belt buckled. And remember, I grew up in the 1950s and 60s when many cars came without belts, babies didn’t have special seats and we sat untethered with countless friends in the backs of station wagons.

Somehow we survived, but that was then and this is now. Now we know better and we know that seat belts save countless lives. As Dr. Gridlock wrote, air bags are great except when people are ejected from their vehicle because the seat belt was unbuckled. In other words, simple solutions left undone can undermine far more complex efforts.

Think about it: we’re all concerned about cyber-safety and yet things like ABCDEFG or password are still among the most used passwords. Likewise, why do so many of us (sadly, me included) open sketchy looking e-mails. Just some simple thinking would make such a difference.

In addition, washing our hands properly can prevent so much illness and simple food safety handling techniques stop most food-borne illness. Best of all, eating better and more exercise would do far more to battle obesity than countless pieces of ill-aimed legislation.

There are countless complex problems we all face in business and the solutions - if they exist - are anything but simple. Business rarely comes with an “easy” button when it comes to unraveling changing consumer preferences, new forms of competition, economic challenges, electronic commerce and many more issues are far more complex than clicking seat belts.

But never overlook the simple ideas and solutions that might be right in front of you. After all, a simple solution won’t solve everything. But the problem it does solves is one less thing you have to deal with - in the car, or in the boardroom.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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