A week ago, driving my son to a Boy Scout Campout at Village Creek State Park in Arkansas, I passed through a speed trap(location provided at the end of the blog) and was ticketed to the tune of $164 for Inattentive Driving. Boy was I steamed. I certainly let the officer know how I felt about it (but without cuss words).

Now that I have calmed down about it, I find that it is a good metaphor for something all owners and CEOs have to avoid.

It was a sneaky speed trap. 55 speed limit on a well paved and designed road built for the speed we were travelling. Smooth sailing. Not much traffic either. For a one mile stretch of road the speed limit goes to 45. Same road, same conditions, same traffic. Just a speed limit sign that I wasn’t looking for and a sheriff waiting for me not to notice. A sign that something was different that I overlooked because things seemed fine. Smooth sailing.

When things are moving smoothly in your business, and even when they aren’t so good but routine, it’s real easy to miss the signs that something is changing. At the In-Synk Huddle yesterday we were talking about Cash Dashboards and how we choose to not see them or pay attention to them and we miss a small change that could have huge consequences. In that instance you are Driving Inattentively just like I was in Arkansas. The signs are there, we choose to ignore them. And the price the company pays are of higher consequence than the $164.

As far as I’m concerned ignoring the factual data on performance and trends is unethical behavior for an owner or CEO.

Now I’m not sure my Inattentive Driving in Arkansas was Unethical (and I’ll argue that the deception of the speed trap is, shame on St. Francis County). But I paid a price for it. And learned.

Just so you know, the speed trap is on Hwy 1 North between I-40 and Wynne, in the Village of Colt (population 365 but there really isn’t a village there). Goes from 55 t0 45 for less than a mile. And sheriffs are waiting for you if you are Inattentive.