Bus Driving by Committee

Lucas Conley has an interesting post on FastCompany titled “All I Need to Know About Business I Learned On a Greyhound Bus“.

On my first read, I was thinking that this sounded very true. Upon reflection, I see two sides to this story.

The first side leads me to commend the bus driver for thier flexibility, and to commend the riders for providing good input. The “team” achieved a common goal, by committee, and they all felt good about themselves at the end of the drive.

The second side however is less positive. Let’s say we have two buses that are going to travel the same route, and the goal is to get to the destination cheaply and quickly.

The first bus has a driver like the one described in the story. He doesn’t know his route well, but he’s willing to listen to his subordinates (riders).

The second bus has a driver that actually knows his route, knows the side-roads to use to circumvent traffic jams, knows how to avoid getting stuck behind the ever-present car-waiting-for-left-turn at North Something Street.

Which bus would you want to be riding? The riders of the first bus may have celebrated their arrival, but only because they realize that it could have been much worse. Their fun will likely be spoiled when they realize it could have been much better as well…