Merge's Blog

A misstep in decision making isn’t a bad thing!

GPS2If you have a Global Positioning System (GPS) device in your vehicle, you’ve most certainly, at some point or another, heard the condescending and cringe-worthy phrase “Recalculating …” delivered in the dulcet tones of the GPS genie.  Because I’ve heard this phrase more often than I care to admit, I’ve actually cracked the code.  You see “Recalculating …” really means “Hey moron, you missed your exit!” 🙂

All joking aside, despite the honeyed timbre with which it is delivered, most of us wince, at least a little, when we hear “Recalculating”.  Why?  Because it makes us feel stupid.  But really, when you think about it, we shouldn’t feel foolish at all.  A recalculation only happens when the GPS device realizes that it’s off track and it knows where it took a wrong turn.  So “recalculating” is actually a positive statement; it means that the GPS knows that it took a wrong turn, it knows where it is, AND it has the information it needs to correct course, get back on track and proceed in the right direction.

Let’s apply this logic to the workplace.  Have you ever taken a “wrong turn” in your decision making?  Found yourself in a situation where you’ve realized that you have to turn around and retrace your steps in order to get back on your intended path?  Or recognized that because of your misstep, you have to find a different route to your destination?  No doubt at that very moment, you’ve probably mentally chastised yourself and felt a little foolish.  But really, when you think about it, you shouldn’t!  What you’ve really said to yourself is “recalculating …” and that’s a good thing!  Because you know you made a wrong turn, you know where you are, and you have the knowledge and the skills to correct your course and get back on track.

So how often does your “recalculating …” kick in?  Do you mentally kick yourself, or do you see it as a positive step?  I’m curious to know how successful you are at keeping the negativity at bay.  Please share by commenting below.


  • While it is true the GPS will recalculate for you when you’ve made a mistake, it will also continuously “recalculate” if you choose to deviate from the suggested route. In life and in business we often follow the accepted prescribed route to an end point, even if we can see a better shorter, faster or more efficient path to that end. If we choose to follow our own path the system will continue to tell us to recalculate. Sometimes it is better to follow the route we know is better and ignore the request to recalculate. It’s called progress.

    Don MacInnes, CPA, CGA

  • One of the critical attributes of a leader is the ability to deal with reality. Without it, leaders will make decisions and not be able to make necessary adjustments to direction or plans. GPS systems are unemotional and don’t care about relationships; when a change in direction is needed, they “recalculate.” It results in changes that are necessary to correct course and direction consistent with one of the core skills of a leader.

  • Don, excellent point and so well articulated. I agree completely with what you are saying. My reflection on “recalculating” was more that we sometimes let our missteps dishearten us when we should really see them as positives. But I fully acknowledge that we should be willing to find our own route, our own innovations to achieve, as you so eloquently put it, progress.

  • Jim, as usual, you’ve added a valid perspective, in some aspects, similar to what Don said. True, you shouldn’t rely on a GPS completely because it doesn’t have the ability to make judgement calls based on feelings or relationships. Leaders of course should always rely on their emotional intelligence. Thanks for the additional insight.


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