I was bored out of my skull.
I was an Engineer Level 1. Working at GM. Every few weeks, I spend 2 days running tests and collecting tons of data.
Then I take that data into excel. My job was to create 20-30 different charts and graphs.
Tedious. Repetitious. Time consuming. It would burn an entire day of me just creating charts.
Every few weeks I’d have to do it all over again.
One evening, I watch a show that talked about a huge volcano under Yellowstone park. If that erupts, we are all screwed.
I’ve always been curious about volcanos. How they work. So I sit down to watch.
Scientists take measurements. Collect tons of data. Then plot graphs in excel. Only, they didn’t do it. Excel did it all by itself. Charts and graphs appear at break neck speed.
The scientist points to the computer. “Once we collect the data, we use excel macros …”
What are excel macros?
You hit the record button in excel. Then move the mouse around, clicking on whatever. Excel records those clicks. Then when you have to do certain actions again, you just hit a key on your keyboard and excel does the clicks for you. But way faster than you could.
Could I use this on my job?
I did. The next time I ran those tests, I put the data into my computer. I hit a key on the keyboard. Excel magically came to life. Formatting data, generating graphics, printing out charts and graphs.
Six to seven hours of tedium now reduced to 30 minutes.
One time I start the macro. I turn to do some other work. I notice that everything is quiet. When I turned my head, a group of engineers stare at my computer in shock. Watching as excel works all by itself.
A few of them do what I do with their projects. I offer to show them what I did.
No, thank you.
That shocked me. How can you not want to innovate?
An article on Forbes lists several traits of innovators…
Innovators embrace change.
Innovators embrace diversity.
Innovators always innovate.
But innovation involves change. It involves looking at the problem, looking at the world in a different light. Or from a different angle.
I rewatch “From the Earth to the Moon”, the story of how we landed on the moon. I start thinking about the policies, procedures and checklists needed to accomplish this huge feat.
Then I ask, “Can I apply this to my real estate business?”
From that, the Documented Approach was born. Because I don’t want a result for my clients. I want an “Engineered Result”, designed to achieve a superior outcome.
American writer Max De Pree said, “We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”
Nothing new ever came from the status quo.