Whoever came up with the term “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” should have put in a disclaimer for businesses “adopt this mantra at your own peril”. Success today guarantees nothing tomorrow, in order to ensure success tomorrow an organization must embrace change. Almost every organization has an understanding of this concept but the allure of the Status Quo seems at times too hard to break away from. I use the adjective allure to describe the magnetic pull that the status quo has on an organization because no other adjective conveys the emotional attachment properly. Organizations that prefer to avoid the short term negative in spite of the long term positive of change cost themselves much more than they realize.
I recall early in my career in a meeting with the CFO of my top client to discuss a Green Technology initiative the I.T. Director and I had been working on for weeks. We were proposing replacing their current server infrastructure with new blade servers, about 15 minutes into the meeting the CFO asks “What is this going to cost?”. When he learned the price tag he abruptly ended the meeting as “there was no way they were going to spend that much money on new equipment when the old equipment was working just fine”.
While the I.T. Director took this as a defeat, I saw a clear opportunity in the statement “working just fine”. I needed to quantify how much the status quo was costing the company annually. As it turned out “working just fine” meant that the company was spending well over $800,000 maintaining their current server infrastructure (heating/cooling, out warranty maintenance, etc.). What the CFO did not realize about the blade solution was that the heating and cooling cost reduction alone would net a 1st year savings of $500,000 plus the tax benefits of implementing green technology.
The CFO almost cost his company well over a half million dollars annually with an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” decision.
In the SMB market “time is money” and I would be willing to bet there are several processes and procedures in your organization that are costing you significant time. Those beholden to the comfort of the current processes and procedures will fight change and will focus on the short term negative to bolster their position. SMB firms can’t grow focusing on the short term negative of change, time is too valuable in this hypercompetitive market space. If a drastic change may disrupt morale and create an overbearing short term negative look for ways to make small changes that yield huge returns, “Little Becomes Big”.
For a 50 employee firm a 15 second improvement across 30 tasks daily could return around 1,875 hours of productivity annually.
How many 15 second improvements could your organization make today?