When Tipped…What’s in YOUR Cup?

“You’re not going to see a grande white mocha with an extra shot of espresso spill out of a cup of tea,” my friend Rob said yesterday. “What comes out of a cup when it’s tipped over is what was IN the cup in the first place!”

What’s just common sense, to my friend Rob, is sadly not always obvious to some others! Rob was directing his analogy to certain people/workers in business…“When tested—when the pressures of life are applied to some—very often, unseemly things come pouring out; things that are often part of that person’s real makeup.”

This got me to thinking about what our printing business has been experiencing over the past few years. In 2009, when the “great recession” hit, we lost a major part of our business, forcing us to reduce staff by more than half. I can tell you…that tipped our “cup” and put a strain on our remaining staff; also on our existing systems, as we tried to scale back operations, while trying to maintain the quality and service for which we were proud to be known.

Over the past few months, however, I’m happy to say we’ve had a major increase in sales. Thank God for that! The BAD news about that is…it also put immense pressure on our reduced staff and systems. I don’t mind admitting, we had some unwanted issues as a result.

The GOOD news is…with sales doubling almost overnight, our staff and our systems did not buckle. None of our staff lost their cool; and none walked out in the middle of what was an otherwise high-stress period. In fact, we saw an improvement in the overall morale of our company.

Why would that be? It was mainly due to the ORDER we had been putting into our business—our CUP—over the past 20 years, by getting rid of the CHAOS and continuing to improve our systems of quality and service.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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