Monday, December 8, 2008

The Danger of Sitting on the Fence

Last Friday, as my custom is, I was training my team at work. I was training specifically on Non Value Added Work Elimination Tools. It was an eye opening session for several of them. It’s always interesting when old theories are challenged and you realize that most of the work that you are doing now are non value added- they add no value to the product or service in the eye of the consumer/consumer. I guess I will talk about this some time soon via this medium. The last quarter of the hour I spent training was used in filling out a survey form for the department. In this survey, people were supposed to answer certain questions truthfully and honestly, rating each one from a “5” (Strongly agree) to a “1” (Strongly disagree). From my experience, it is very common to see a lot of people scoring the questions “3” (Neither agree nor disagree). This amazes me and it shows clearly that the middle ground looks like a good place to hide! Can you reckon with that?

While trying to warn them of the dangers of choosing “3” for most of the questions, a story I read several years ago came to my mind. It was a perfect story to drive home the point, and I got a loud applause for it! May I share it with you, dear reader (I hope to get the same applause, lol).

There is a great danger staying in the middle of the road. Sitting on the fence is not a wise thing to do afterall.

Long time ago, a war broke out between 2 neighboring towns. The inhabitants of these towns look so much alike and they decided to devise a means to ensure that they do not kill their own kinsmen during the war. They decided to wear uniforms. Town A decided to go with a red coloured uniform while Town B chose a black uniform option. That way, they can attack each other and not people from their town. As this was going on, there was a man who thought himself wise and smart. He was afraid to join either of the armies for fear of being killed. He thought of a plan – an excellent plan to make sure that whichever way the war goes, he will be safe. He decided to sew a uniform with both colours! The front of the uniform was red while the back was black. He then went to the battlefield, and was bold enough to get right in the middle of action. Since the side of his uniform showing Red was pointing to Town A armies, and the side with Black was pointing to Town B armies, many thought him bold and daring. “What a bold fighter”, they praised! He was getting praises and commendation from both armies. In the midst of all the accolades, he got carried away and turned around, the red side of his uniform now facing the army with black uniform, and the black side of his uniform now facing the army wearing red. You can guess what happened next. He was shot on both sides! The smart guy wasn’t so wise afterwards!

What’s the morale of the story? I guess it’s quite obvious. There is a great danger staying in the middle of the road. Sitting on the fence is not a wise thing to do afterall. It may seem like a temporary solution but it always often backfires. There is no middle ground between telling the truth and telling a lie. You are either lying or telling the truth. Sitting on the fence between honesty and dishonesty poses a lot of danger to you as an individual. You will not achieve much staying in the middle of the road. Infact, I can predict that you will get the same treatment that this “wise” man got.

What happens to a car that drives in the middle of the road, especially when the road is dual carriage road? Your guess is as good as mine. May I say that the same thing happens to destinies that are always compromising? Listen, it is better to be on the wrong side of the road, than to be right at the middle! I saw a proof of this even in God’s holy book. Hear what He says

“ And to the angel of the church of the Laodeceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth……” Rev 3:14-16

Can you imagine? God almighty himself prefers that we are either “hot” or “cold”. As far as he is concerned, he doesn’t want anyone sitting on the fence. He is simply saying…” hey, let’s know where you stand”. That’s the starting point. If we know where you stand, then we will know if it’s the right or wrong place. If it’s the wrong place, then we will know what to do to get you to the right place. So, where do you stand? When it comes to morality, where do you stand? When it comes to being honest, where do you stand? When is comes to giving bribes, where do you stand? When it comes to money matters, where do you stand? When it comes to God, where do you stand? I sincerely hope you are not standing right in the middle of the road. If you are, you have two choices – Get out of the middle of the road, to any of the sides (I recommend the good side, of course), or get ready to perish!

You may just not be smart afterwards!


Peter Olapade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Olapade said...

Thanks for this thought provoking article. It made me examine my stand on some issues. Middle of the road is without any question the most dangerous place to be.

You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!