The “Grumpy” Poet – Common Sense!


In this week’s The “Grumpy” Poet I want to rant about one of my biggest pet peeves in life – idiots!

Ok, maybe I’m being harsh, but I doubt it, some people just don’t think! Evolution is essential for human growth and the sustainability of the human race. Ever heard of the Darwin awards?

Recently I started taking driving lessons, yes I’m 35-years-old, married with 2 kids, co-founder of my own business, and I don’t have a drivers licence. Let’s move on. While taking all the sample knowledge tests provided by the SAAQ (The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) I noted that the government, at least in Quebec, never ascertains if current or potential drivers apply common sense or logic to the decisions they make on the road.

The driver’s handbook does not teach you how to drive. It illustrates the rules and regulations of the Highway Safety Code and assumes you are of sane mind – but that’s a huge assumption considering how many serious and fatal accidents transpire on our roads every day that could have been easily avoided if people just used common sense.

Of course it is necessary to know and understand the Highway Safety Code before you sit behind the wheel. And yes I understand that during your driving tests you will “actually” learn how to drive a car. But, that being said, there is little or no government-issued documentation that outlines a list of things people do every day that cause accidents. I would think that would be a key learning component? We only get the “speech” on the news after some idiot, sorry that is what they are, dies or kills someone because they did not use common sense.

Recently, a man in Quebec pulled off to the side of the highway late at night because his tire pressure light started flashing. Not paying attention to what he was doing, he was hit by a bus while crouching on his knees with his back to the right lane. During the news report an official noted why “you should never do this”. I would think that it is pretty obvious, yet it happens all the time. It’s a sad story but could’ve been completely avoided if this driver had just applied common sense.

Let’s discuss common sense and its connection to building a successful business.

Quite often projects fail, deadlines are missed, and communication breaks down between the client and the agency because there is a lack of common sense. I think you know what I’m talking about?

Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people, and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.

When you rush to get a job done it is easy to miss things. No matter how great or small a task is the entire team, including the client, must carefully outline the agreed upon objectives, consider all possible options, and communicate as a team. The ability to listen to others, ask questions, read all documents carefully, and most importantly be patient are key to quality and success. It’s just good common sense!

Use common sense and don’t do the following:

  • Read carefully – common sense would dictate that if you’re going to respond to an email make sure you read it first. There is nothing more aggravating than a response that points out an issue that was already clearly stated in the original email. It displays lack of care and attention. If you don’t have time to read it, wait until you do before you answer it.
  • Listen carefully – much like the above point, don’t sit in a meeting nodding yes and smiling if you’re not paying attention. People hate having to repeat themselves multiple times, especially critical points they have already explained. Plus, you have no idea what you’re agreeing to if you’re just shaking your head.
  • Always ask for clarification – if you’re in a meeting with a client or a co-worker and you don’t understand what is being asked of you or the topic of conversation ask for clarification. Like the above point, don’t just nod and say yes. It will only lead to mis-communication and failure down the road.
  • Back it up with data – if you’re going to make a case to your team or client, make sure you can back it up with research, evidence, and real data that either proves or disproves what you are selling. Way too often people make blanket statements without checking the facts. People love to say in conversation “it’s a well known fact…” Is it? Where did you read that? Prove it!
  • We can do anything – no one person or team of people can accomplish anything – see above – don’t agree to do work you or your team doesn’t have the skill set to accomplish. Way too often, agencies agree to everything a client asks for without even considering whether or not it is possible, a good idea, or a service they offer. It’s common sense people. If someone asks you to fly a plane and you’re not a pilot, why agree to it?
  • Sign on the dotted line – it amazes me how many people sign a document without reading it first. Years ago I was hardware tech for a large telephone company – basically I fixed peoples broken phones. More than half my customers had claims not covered by their contracts. Of course they would argue this, and when I pointed it out in their contract they would always respond with “I didn’t read that!” and my response would be “You signed that you did!”. Case in point.

These are only a few …

The real question is, does common sense really need to be taught? And if so, how do we teach it? After all, it’s common sense, you should already be aware 🙂

I’ll leave you with this:

“Common sense is the most widely shared commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it.”
― René Descartes

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