Seeing the Forest for the Trees

What has got to be one of those nightmarish problems every pavement marking contractor fears happened again last week in North Carolina. A striping contractor, focused on laying out the letters identifying the nearby building as a school, placed them in the wrong order on the pavement: shcool. Local press jumped all over the accident as a spelling mistake (which the contractor involved quickly corrected). But was it a spelling mistake? Did someone on the crew -- or everyone on the crew -- really think school is spelled shcool? Of course not. This is not a spelling issue, it's a quality control issue. It's a mistake borne, probably, out of a crew trying to get the job done a little too quickly. And it's a case of not pausing long enough to step back, take a breath, and take a good look at the overall job before going ahead. It's an issue where the crew certainly saw the individual trees but didn't put them all together to see the forest.