Kill the snake

November 14, 2011

The company I worked for in my former life used to have a comprehensive program for new employees, a week-long class on company culture and history, policies and expectations. As much as I’m not a fan of corporate – to absolutely no fault of the company I was a part of – there was one piece of their culture that they taught us in that class that I still carry with me today. They called it: Kill the Snake.

It was a simple philosophy. It meant, if you see a snake, kill it. Take care of it.

Be the one that steps up and gets it done.

If you see an issue, even if it’s not part of your specific job description, take the extra step to take care of it. Because if you turn a blind eye to it, if you don’t take that extra step, then the snake just gets bigger and bigger.

And bigger snakes are much scarier and harder to deal with than little ones.

Plus, the perceived effort of stepping up and taking care of the snake is almost always much more than the actual act itself.

I was thinking about this concept this morning, related to a friend who is struggling with a few health issues. I suggested a few ways she could try and remedy the situation, and her reply was something along the lines of, “Yeah, I keep thinking I need to do that, I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

She was willing to let the problem get bigger and bigger, instead of taking a small – albeit a little unknown and untested for her personally – step to begin bettering her situation.

Kill the Snake. It can apply to business or personal, fixing a problem or making a positive change. Anything, really. Once the snake is realized, take the small step no one else will to take care of it. Take action. Be the one that steps up and takes responsibility. Prove to yourself how easily it can actually be done.

The issue, the situation, won’t get any better until you do.

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