I frequently travel through an intersection which has two lanes heading in one direction that quickly merge into one lane after the intersection. I like to use both lanes and merge, but often receive glares or horns from other drivers who apparently think I am doing so just to zoom ahead of them.

Are the cars who use the lane that ends wise or rude? If the lane isn’t to be used as I described, what purpose does it serve? An extra quarter-mile of roadway is likely to have cost six- figures so it was put there intentionally but continues to be woefully underutilized.

It seems to me that all could be resolved with proper signage like the one below. It gives permission for people to display the desired behavior and explains what that looks like to those who may be unfamiliar with the arrangement.

We underestimate the clarity that a simple sign can provide. In the past, I have posted instructions for employees about paying for beverages that were intended for visitors, thus resolving whether they were free for anyone to partake, and had signs specifying the types of materials that could or could not be recycled. With a simple notice, it removed ambiguity and decision-making energy.

What behaviors occur (or fail to occur) in your organization that could be corrected with a simple sign?

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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