My Thoughts by Rick Stephens

Everything is Broken

Posted in Attitudes,Continual Improvement,Developing Processes by Rick on the February 10th, 2007

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” I was attending a seminar just last week when I heard the moderator say exactly that. Of course, everyone in the room understood his meaning, as we all do, but in the business world, doing things the way we always have can cost us customers, money, and good employees.

Instead of allowing processes to go on just because they seem to work, we should adopt an attitude of Continual Improvement, always looking for a way to make the process better, even if “it ain’t broke.”

Mother and Daughter CookingThere is an old story about a young girl helping her Mother cook dinner. As the Mother was putting the ham into the pan, she cut off a small piece on each side. Curiously the young girl asked, “Why do we always cut the ends off the ham before we put it in the oven?” The mother replied, “I don’t know dear, it’s just the way Grandma always did it. Let’s call and ask her why.” So they did. When asked, the Grandmother responded with the same answer, “It’s the way my Mother always did it.” So they called the young girl’s Great Grandmother and again asked, “Why do we always cut the ends off the ham before we put it in the pan?” The Great Grandmother replied, “I don’t know why you do it, I did it because I never had a pan big enough to hold the whole ham.”

So you see, we can go along forever doing the same thing, the same way we always have, even though nothing seems to be broken, when in fact, if we would adopt the attitude of Continual Improvement we would begin to ask important questions, the biggest one being, Why?

If you want to make your business “the best it can be”, to borrow from the Army slogan, look closely at those processes that “ain’t broke” and improve them, and the next time you hear someone say, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, let it remind you to fix something today.

To Your Success,

Rick's Signature

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