I am a car novice. My skills with cars are limited to driving them. I cannot tell if I need a tune-up, oil change, maybe I can tell with an alignment, but thats about it. My guess is this is true of more and more drivers. Changing car oil at home used to be much more common than it is today. So did checking the oil.
I can’t remember the last time I checked the oil of one of my cars. Fifteen years ago, I checked regularly. I believe car manufacturers have spoiled us. Cars now alert us to when we need an inspection, oil change, tire rotation, and all other basic maintenance. The downside is I’ve lost the habit of inspecting for myself. Its not that I am lazy, it just no longer seemed necessary. The other day, I was getting gas and the car seemed to be running a bit different. I checked the air in my tires and found one low. Ordinarily I would not have paid attention. I actually had the argument in my head that the tire can’t be low, the dashboard would have told me if they were like they had in the past. I double checked the pressure. Same result. The machine is not perfect. Neither is a system that depends on one being perfect.
Work has the strange habit of imitating life. Just because things there are no complaints does not mean all is well. Just because I have not been alerted does not mean there are no signs of trouble. I am rediscovering how important maintenance and inspections are to meeting expectations and how critical they are to raising expectations.
My high expectations need to be coupled with solid maintenance check-ups and inspections. For me, those include regular interactions, a regular review of expectations and performance versus those expectations, a purposeful pursuit of finding items that could improve, and the testing of tweaks to make processes a bit easier to meet goals.
I hope you are prompted to find a handful of items that may be running on auto-pilot and dig a bit deeper to make them even better. Or find items that have been neglected or overlooked a bit that may cause bigger problems and address them.