Liz on Leadership
Why Slow Down? Lessons from a Burst Water Heater...

A couple of weeks ago, I came home to a large patch of wet carpet in my basement. Actually, it was beyond wet—it was drenched. It didn’t take much digging to find the source of the problem: a burst hot water heater.*

Seemingly out of nowhere, the unit simply gave out and proceeded to leak water everywhere—across the storage closet, under the drywall, and into the carpeted main section of basement.

Dozens of books got soaked, my husband’s guitar nearly ruined, several diplomas damaged, and more.

We had to call in a plumber immediately to replace the unit (think: surge pricing!) and a carpet guy to replace ruined padding and sections of carpet. Not a tragedy, of course, but just not fun.

The greatest frustration? Much of the drama would have been avoided had I slowed down to inspect the aging unit and replace it before trouble struck. I could have prevented the stress of fire-fighting, added cost, and regrettable property damage had I simply taken a more proactive approach.

I encourage you to learn from my mistake. Take time to reflect (and don’t forget to engage your team) to answer the following:

  • Where are the potential surprises in our organization?
  • What lies ahead in our industry and across the regulatory landscape?
  • Who or what may cause trouble, and how can we prevent simmering problems from escalating into crisis?
  • Which upgrades and new investments will keep us safe from falling behind?
  • Where will we get the best return on investment? Consider your people, systems, potential acquisitions, innovations, and customer/industry repute.

In slowing down long enough to be deliberate, thoughtful, and proactive in your approach, you lay the necessary foundation to go faster where it counts… as you drive your organization to dramatically better outcomes while minimizing stressful, distracting, costly mistakes along the way.

If you’d like to explore ways to lead your organization to the next level, pivot to get ahead of a changing landscape, and grow twice as fast as you’re growing today, get in touch with me. This is some the most exciting work I do, and I’m always amazed at the extraordinary progress my clients achieve every single day!

S end me an email:  or call  215.805.5551

I’d love to hear from you!

* This article first appeared in Life Science Leader
"Dr. Liz Bywater is an outstanding organizational consultant and I strongly recommend her to any client seeking to improve individual and organizational performance."
– Alan Weiss, Ph.D., President, Summit Consulting Group

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Life Science Leader

Liz Bywater, PhD