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Random Thoughts Make the World Go'Round

Do Not Run to a Code


I am an anxious person. That means that I like to be able to cross things off my list so that they do not swirl around in my head. If I don’t, they have a tendency to linger and affect me at work and at home. This leads me to move quickly. Sometimes, too quickly for my own good.

That means that I have urges to check my phone for responses to text messages, to follow up multiple times until I receive an answer, or ask the same question multiple times. It’s not done out of malice, it is just the need to complete the task at hand.

One time, I volunteered to coordinate a diversity event for an organization I was a part of. I had a great idea for the event and set forth to make it the best event it could possibly be. I put together an outline, received approval and was off to the races.

One of my responsibilities was to put together an invitation so that we can send it to the entire division. I drafted what I felt was appropriate, and sent it to my boss and her VP for feedback and approval. I received the feedback from our VP fairly quickly. Minor changes and it was good to go. I spent the rest of the day waiting for my boss’ feedback.

As the day progressed the voices in my head kept asking when I was going to send the email? When was I going to get the task done? Didn’t I have everything I needed to send the invitation? After much deliberation, I decided to send the email out at the end of the day without having received my boss’ feedback. It was one of the most meaningful lessons I had in my career.

The moment the invitation was sent my boss sent me a note. If I was not interested in her feedback, next time I should just send the request to the VP directly.


She was absolutely right. In the interest of getting things done quickly, I disregarded what I had asked her to do in the first place. I gave the impression that I didn’t care about her opinion, and I wasted her time reviewing my document. Not my brightest moment.

Years later, I heard of the concept of never running to a code. In hospitals codes are announcements alerting staff of different emergencies. In many cases the codes are urgent life or death situations that need to be handled immediately.

Early on in their careers, Drs. are taught to never run to a code, and here is why. When you run to a code you get there with your heart rate elevated and unfocused. You are worried more about getting there then you are in what you will do WHEN you get there. Because of that you are not putting your best effort forward and it could have a significant impact on the situation.

Instead of running to code, hospital staff is encouraged to move quickly, but in a way that would not jeopardize the patient to be treated. While in route, the staff should be thinking of what they could encounter and what they should be prepared to do.

The goal here is not to be fastest, but to be at your best so that you can perform at your peak in a critical circumstance.

Sound familiar?

The concept of not running to code immediately made me think of the invitation I sent. I wanted to run, to get it done. People were counting on me! I was not thinking about the impact I would have by moving so quickly, I was only thinking about completing the task. Checking that box.

Lesson learned and remembered forever.

Next time that you are anxious about completing a task, about making a change, or simply getting something done, take a deep breath and do not run to a code. Think about your options intently and deliberately. Discuss it with someone. Take your time so that when you do execute, you do so at your peak performance. It might be a difference maker.

Andre Mello is a business coach and an Antsy Nancy. He has been in leadership and coaching for over 11 years. To connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com.

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