Missing The Forrest

Minnesota is a cold state. There’s simply no two ways about it. Minnesota is also a state that caters to cold weather sports like hockey. Unfortunately, super cold weather and sports aren’t a great combination. It’s one of the reasons Minnesota has so many skating rinks. You can enjoy ice skating without dealing with 5 degree weather.

Just after Christmas I picked up ice skates for myself and the kids. I’ve been trying to teach them how to skate. John swears he’s going to play hockey when he’s older. Now, with Minnesota being a hockey state, it’s tough to find rink time for free skating. Usually rink time is reserved for hockey games and hockey practice. One place that is dedicated to free skating is The Depot It’s pricey at $8 for adults, $6 for kids of ALL ages and $4 for parking. The Depot is connected to the Renaissance Hotel and an underground parking lot. By connected, I mean you can literally access the rink without ever having to step outside. Smart, right? I mean, if you’re a hotel guest, you’ll never have to step out into the nearly 0 temperatures of a Minnesota winter.

The Depot

Well, imagine my surprise when yesterday, we found the door connecting the warm hotel to the rink, closed. Not just closed, locked. We and several other families were perplexed. A Depot employee came out to inform the group that the doors were locked and we would all need to go outside and use the alternate entrance. More than a few families were miffed. Given the lack of warm winter clothes I guessed many of them were hotel guests; we weren’t obviously. We stepped outside, braved the old (8 degrees today) and used the alternate entrance.

I asked the woman collecting the entrance fees what the deal was with the locked doors. She was exasperated and very clearly stated:

1. It wasn’t her call
2. She thinks it’s “silly”
3. Management decided to enact the new policy to minimize the chance of someone sneaking in and skating for free

The employee and I both agreed that the likelihood someone would sneak in was minimal. Not only would you need to sneak in, but even if you did, you’d stick out pretty bad since all skaters receive a wristband after paying. She encouraged me to voice my complaint to “management” and encourage others to do so, as well. I couldn’t find management.

Think about this situation. For the 1 or 2 people a day who might sneak in (a $16 loss in revenue) The Depot grossly inconveniences 100s of paying customers. If more than 2 people, because of the new policy, choose to go elsewhere, The Depot loses more revenue than they would have had they not enacted the policy.

This is a great example of seeing the tree, but completely missing the forest. In the scope of the big picture this makes no sense. In the scope of the “problem” it makes lots of sense. As we think about the challenges we face every day in our companies and our personally lives, we need to remember to see both the trees and the forest.

About
Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
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