The Cost of Doing Nothing
Has this ever happened to you? You failed to act on something at the right time, and the lesson was severe? If you could go back would you make the same decision—to do NOTHING?
Procrastination is a paralyzing quandary that many of us deal with on a daily basis in business. It's easy to become sidetracked, even immobilized, choosing to deal with non-essentials that require little commitment or perseverance, rather than face opposition or confrontation.
Who wants to hear the word "No," from co-workers, or risk (heaven forbid) not being "liked" when meeting a problem head-on?
As an owner or manager, it's always more comfortable to talk to people who "love" hearing from you, than trying to win someone over to your way of thinking. It might seem simpler to just close your office door and shut out all the daily hassles, than to confront and hold accountable those who make continuous errors that disrupt production for everyone. But, it’s part of the deal as a leader!
We ALL want to be liked—in fact, we can do the darndest things to ensure we are liked. We'll waste hours talking with vendors who "like" us—or, rather, like our business—instead of dealing directly with difficult clients who want an honest explanation for why mistakes are happening on their jobs.
LET'S FACE IT—being the head steward over a business is a challenge that has constant pressures and tough decisions that need to be made in order to maintain success.
DOING, is what we must do—DOING NOTHING is not an option!
I hear almost weekly from so-called decision makers of companies, telling me they "can't make a decision" about implementing lean management, quality control and other systemic actions, "until I have a consensus among my employees." Really?
Of course, I've learned over time, what they are actually saying is, they have determined the cost is too high—of their time, and facing the possibility of mutiny if they require employees to adhere to certain standards. Many people balk at change that might take them out of their comfort zone, even if it’s detrimental.
Truth is, rarely would company leadership get an affirming consensus from a group of employees on implementing any system that requires real accountability for their work; or that could potentially expose any shortcomings.
I know all about the politics of "business as usual" that just maintains the status quo, with all its woes. And, trying to improve on that, I heard that voice in my own ear, warning me that my decision to bring my business to order though a systemic approach would require real commitment, continuous positive actions, and my time.
So, what do you do?
Some costs of doing NOTHING:
- Lose good employees due to the stress of on-going internal chaos.
- Customers leaving due to errors and late deliveries.
- Equipment breakdowns from poor maintenance, causing missed deadlines.
- Cluttered work areas resulting in poor performance and morale.
- Family heirs to the business opting out after years of watching their parents being overwhelmed and having no time for personal life, due to the disorganization.
- Unable to leave the office without your mobile phone constantly ringing, and operations falling apart.
- YOU continue to eat the cost of other people’s mistakes; their fear of higher standards and expectations.
So, after counting the cost of doing NOTHING in my own business, I made a commitment to build an operations manual, with written business processes and standards, to eliminate internal chaos—a price I gladly paid! Now other businesses are able to benefit by the work we continue to do.
The cost of excellence is minimal, compared to the cost of doing NOTHING!
Did I mention? Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.