The ‘toll way’ philosophy

Almost everyday, I use the highway to travel to my workplace. Well, not just a freeway kind of highway, but more of a toll way, because it’s not free. Everyday, I drive through fast lane with all other cars. Everyone such in a hurry. The basic logic here is that we pay the toll fee because we want to arrive faster. We pay more so we can have less traffic lights, no stopping cars in the roadside, and obviously fewer vehicles. We want to have better control on our travel time, so we pay the toll fee.

Source: Reuters

Now, there is this question I want to bring up: Do I like driving in the toll way?

No, I don’t. It’s kind of boring, since we see fewer people, and mostly only cars. Well, what could you expect from toll way, right? The boredom can be even worse when we drive the same route every weekday. It’s the routine that makes it worse.

Not just that. Now in Indonesia, we need more and more toll roads, simply because more ans more people have cars. Whilst public transport development is considerably slower than public demands, the increasing congestion of  toll way traffic is seemingly insurmountable. The price we paid for tool fee starts to have different meaning. While in the past it used to be the price we pay to get faster travel time, now it’s the price we have to pay so we can have less traffic torture.

So, for me now,  the toll way experience is an option of less problems in traffic that gives me a bit faster travel time. But, it doesn’t give me a control on my travel time. It doesn’t make me sure how long does it takes to arrive to my office. The fact is, I can leave early in one day and I still arrive late at my office; and leave a bit late to arrive early on another day.

It tells me one thing: The toll way gives me more space to speculate on whether I will arrive on time, while the normal road can guarantee me lateness.

That means that faster is just faster, not necessarily the same with better accuracy in time. And, when everyone join in the race to be faster, it makes even speculative to be accurately arrive on the targeted time.

OK, that’s enough. What these things with toll way have to do with OD?

Today’s business and organizations requires agility, accuracy and steadfastness. I guess it’s almost difficult to deny this statement. To be faster but still correct sounds really good to me. To be strong but flexible also sounds right. But, these idealism stuffs, like all else, have to be tested in reality. And, as far as I know, to have all of these implemented in reality is really challenging. Impossible, for some.

OD is where ideas should be managed into process improvement in fast but still exact process, driven by the principle of prudence innovation. This also sounds right, and to be honest, impossible too. Why? Because everyone is joining the race to be faster. Just like the toll way, it’s even more difficult to arrive on time, when more cars use the toll way to get faster time.

The thing is, when everyone is running faster in the same road, it is getting more difficult to be sure how long it takes to arrive on time.


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