We’ve all seen these puzzles over the years. We pride ourselves on being able to sort out the best route for the mouse to take to get quickly to the cheese.
The puzzle is arranged with dead-ends, which we don’t find out about until we are too deep into the maze.
Invariably the route that appears the shortest, most direct causes us to stop in our tracks as we get past the mid-way point.
Who thinks up these puzzles, who’s making it difficult to get to the cheese, why can’t we clearly see the blocks.
Then there’s the double back. We are progressing well, making headway and we find ourselves having to double back because we are in a circular loop that takes us all the way back to the start.
We can be so intense on the part of the puzzle we are working on, that we lose sight of where the cheese is, and in working though our little sub-section, we’ve taken the wrong exit.
You get to a point having seen many of these puzzles and having greater experience when we find ourselves not looking for the shortest or most direct route. We know that’s not going to work, because we’ve tried and failed many times before. We advise those less experienced that us not to go the direct route as it’s fraught with danger.
Or maybe we don’t, maybe we are happy to see them fail, so we can point out confidently the more complex route, sure to get the cheese.
Effectively we are ‘trained’ to take the complex routes, based on past experience, until we hit on one that is fairly straight forward, and we are busy taking every diversion possible.
When we get to the end – we realise we don’t actually like cheese, and distract ourselves with another puzzle, because maybe its just all about the journey?
Could our workplace ever be like this? Surely not. I mean, has someone actually gone out of their way to create a workplace like a mouse/cheese maze and make it extremely difficult to get to the end destination?
They spend hours to create the maze, so we can’t easily get to the solution.
The whole basis of its design is to stop us from getting to the end goal, or at least giving us a headache trying.
Whereas work is different right? Like, if you were to draw the equivalent maze at work it would surely be a straight line, or maybe a curved line, like a water slide at a theme park.
Surely our ‘work maze’ is set to make things easy. I mean someone hasn’t spend hours to design it to make it difficult? In fact, hopefully they have actively spent time trying to make it easier.
Really, you should have an image of being on a waterslide, with a jet propulsion pack on your back – its got to be that easy to kick goals in your workplace, that we all spend time being giddy, its that easy, one success after another.
What? you mean it’s not like that?
What,? you mean it feels like the mouse puzzle is easier to solve than getting things done at work?
Are we too smart for our own good? How can we create systems that actively work against us?
Why would we put people in such a predicament?
Is someone having a great laugh at our expense?
It is amazing to think that many workplaces feel like they were designed by your competitors, as you must travel every nook and cranny to get a result.
Well, I’ve seen quite a few workplaces that require people to run ragged to get a result. The disappointing thing is the poor sucker doing all the running is then blamed for underperforming.
If you are fed up of the mazes in your workplace, maybe we can assist closing off some of those dead ends and double backs and make the journey more visible to everyone.
I’ve spent many years in college real organisations doing just this, and I get enjoy working with people to improve results for less effort.