Managing Obstacles in Plans

Let’s run a thought experiment.

As a regular gym-goer, you make use of 5 weight machine; 3 are for training upper body, and 2 are for training lower body. They are arranged in an alternate pattern, and you typically work your way down the line doing your sets of workout. When you complete your set at the 5th machine, you return to the 1st and start your 2nd round.

Interior of gym at Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Seen here is a leg curl and other weights machines and treadmills can be seen in the background.

On this day, when you start your gym routine, you find 2 persons using machine 3 and 4. They are the type who stays at the machine after doing one set, rest for 30 seconds, and continue doing the next set at the same machine.

They are most likely to stay at 1 machine for about 10 minutes.

How would you react?

A. Start your routine, and when it’s time to use Machine 3, ask the current user if he’s using the machine. If he’s resting, ask him to let you use it first. Do this for subsequent machines that are occupied.

B. Start your routine, but re-work it around the 3 unoccupied machines. You figured that by the time you are done with that routine, the 2 guys would be done and you can start a 2nd routine on those 2 machines.

If you are expecting me to debate about the merits of either option, you are wrong. Because both options achieve the same result of working out, they are both effective.

The thing is, some people may disagree with the conclusion that there is no point of arguing, because they believe that one is more efficient than the other. They will rather spend a disproportionate amount of time debating on something this trivial, such that randomly choosing either option becomes more efficient than debating about it.

And when you choose a course of action that is so different from what your superior chooses, conflicts arise.

Thereby comes my next question: What will you do then?

Interior of gym at Capri by Frasers Singapore. Seen here is a row of treadmills facing the hotel pool.

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