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.
When our cup was tipped, we also learned some NEW things about ourselves!
We used the opportunity to improve our processes even more, as a few of our systems were exposed as less than perfect under pressure.
More good news...due to the increased sales and improved cash flow, we were able to pay our staff overtime wages to work on preventive maintenance and special projects that were long overdue because of the recession. We cleaned, polished and worked on many projects that are normally accomplished in companies, only during slow periods.
With just a few tweaks here and there to the contents in our cup, we are back on track handling the new work load with ease.
When our cup was tipped, what came out was what we had put into it—ORDER!
What's in your cup?
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.