WHY DOES SUPERMAN WEAR A STUPID RED CAPE?

Dear Readers,

I have struggled to write a post all day but the work load mounts, I stopped by at my favourite blog Ofilispeaks  and as usual I was not disappointed, I am free to share as I have done credit to his brains. Enjoy….

Why Does Superman Wear A Cape? Nobody knows. Not even him. He doesn’t need the cape to fly and unlike Batman he does need it to glide. Maybe he uses it as a head wrap or perhaps a blanket to sleep at night…who knows.

I mean the cape does not give him any super powers or any particular advantages. In fact he can function well without the cape but yet he wears it! That red flowing cape that drives engineers crazy!

Especially when they realize that Superman can actually jump higher and fly faster without all the unnecessary drag caused from his cape flapping around in the wind and colliding with all kinds of air molecules … faster than a speeding bullet? Yeah right … more like dumber than a speeding bullet!

The red flowing cape that his enemies use against him on several occasions to fling, strangle and slam him all around Metropolis. Just check out this 2013 Man Of Steel fight scene where General Zod’s loyalists kick Superman’s behind by using his cape against him.

As you can see from the end, even Disney Incredibles know better! And that is that capes are a no no for any serious super heroes. But yet Superman wears it…

Maybe because he is so freaking strong that he does not realize all the disadvantages of having a cape. I mean he defeated Doomsday see video and even beat the Flash in a race see video so why take off the cape? Maybe it’s because he has always worn one? And that might actually be it, because all fiction aside…a lot of our businesses are like Superman with his useless cape.

We have systems just like he has his red cape, we don’t know why they are there or what purpose they serve, all we know is that it has been there from the start so why change it. Even when the illogicality hits us straight in the face we just stick with the red capes not realizing how much they slow us down. How much they hamper us.

If you have ever been to the Atlanta International Airport (I have been but it was a sad experience I almost missed my flight and my luggage did not make it to Nigeria), you will notice something peculiar. It consists of 7 concourses, concourse A, B, C, D, E, F and … not G. The next concourse is actually T, not only that but concourse T comes before concourse A. Which makes no sense at all, but why the illogicality? Why not make concourse “T” concourse “A” and re-arrange all the others to follow a logical A-B-C-D-E-F-G order?

The answer is as complex as Superman’s Cape. The illogical naming of the Atlanta concourses is a thing of legacy as described by David Zweig in his awesome book Invisibles: The Power Of Anonymous Work In An Age Of Self-Promotion. In the book, David inquired from Jorge Cortes the assistant director of Design Planning and Development at the Atlanta International Airport. Here is a summary of his findings:

“I later emailed … to get an explanation for why ‘T’ was first used and why it still in use now. Alas, the reasoning behind it is so layered and opaque, all I can say is succinctly is that it’s the result of repeated airport redesigns, additions and renaming’s dating back to 1980!”

Notice those words “repeated,” “layered,” “opaque” and “1980.”

All of them relate to that one thing that kills businesses and organizations, red cape systems that have become established simply because they were used repeatedly in the past and are now so enmeshed in layers and layers of opaque bureaucracy that is hard … almost impossible to remove … to change. So the company just flies along with the status quo, too un-bothered to realize or acknowledge the detriments of an illogical legacy systems.

But the red cape phenomenon is not just limited to Atlanta…it affects us here in Nigeria.

One of our many red capes are roundabouts.

We build roundabouts all over the country especially in Lagos. Despite the fact that it has clearly not worked in controlling traffic. I mean just check out Falomo at rush hour or one of the many Lekki roundabouts and you will understand the problem with roundabouts! But who dares get rid of the roundabouts? No one!

It is ingrained in our system, likely from the British who gave it to us in the early 1900′s. And boy have wee held on tight to it. Building roundabouts everywhere even when the evidence shows that it makes no sense to do so. I mean just consider the roundabout at Allen Avenue!

Where do I start?

Growing up Allen Avenue was the hit spot, the Adeola Odeku of the Main Land. But today due to population explosion Allen Avenue is packed … so packed that a permanent concrete barrier has been placed to prevent cars from making u-turns in the middle of Allen Avenue. In fact the only way you can turn is via two roundabouts at either end of Allen.

The more interesting roundabout of the two is the one close to Adeniyi Jones.

But before I start, let me explain that a roundabout is meant to function independent of traffic wardens. But this is Nigeria where the roundabouts get so congested that we need traffic wardens … not 1 but several of them. But what makes this particular roundabout crazily “red cape” unique is the fact that it has traffic lights in it! I have never seen a round about with traffic lights in it. The first time I entered that roundabout I was confused … I thought it was prank or some sort of joke. But it was real!

Why build a round about with traffic lights in it? What’s the point? Why not just remove the roundabout and replace it with a fully functional junction with traffic lights. And why do we still build roundabouts! The answer is simply this…just like superman’s cape, like the concourse “T” at the Atlanta International Airport and like many others things hampering businesses, it happens because of legacy, because that’s the way people have done it in the past.

Great leaders, great entrepreneurs are the ones bold enough, crazy enough to question the red capes and take them out of their organizations … because we like Superman don’t need capes to fly!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Nigeria, On a lighter note, unlimited power

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s