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Small Stuff And The Power Of A Penny

This is the second time this has happened. Once with a neighbor and again this past week at our rental property. A penny, a simple little penny disrupted a household by lodging itself between the wall and the spinning plate inside a garbage disposal. When it happens, this little penny can stop the workings of a kitchen in an instant. Think about the stuck penny for a minute. When one flicks the disposal’s switch, nothing happens.

Not even a match for a fork attack or a torrent of water. Large chunks of food sit idle. Decay. Inevitably, stench. Plus more problems.

Dishwashers are often connected to disposals as a primary or secondary crusher, so when the dishwasher starts to pump out its water, the sink starts to fill up. Fork and water attacks are followed by the plunger. Still, nothing works. From this point on, you might say the kitchen surrenders control to a simple, out-of-place penny. If there’s only one sink, one can't clean dishes at all. The resident’s time, once used for productive activity or relaxation, is now spent working around a dysfunctional sink. Then come repairs. If the owner calls a plumber, he will pay for repairs or installation of a new unit. A do-it-yourself job will likely result in a helter-skelter mess under the sink, a combination of dismantled pipes and the water that’s seeped out of them. Eventually, the owner rescues the disposal from the invading penny.

Then the process of reconnecting pieces and eventual cleanup takes place. All this for a penny. What power. Well, that penny is like your business decisions or actions. One small decision or one small action can completely alter outcomes, even grind operations to a standstill, if you’re not careful. With only a few weeks left until the year ends, you can still make seemingly small decisions or take small actions that will have a huge impact on your organization in the upcoming year. Here are a few: Upgrade: Outdated technology, old equipment and software slow you down and prevent you from competing at your best. You don’t always have to have the newest state-of-the art items, but you can’t afford to miss deadlines or turn out shoddy products, because your equipment isn’t keeping pace. We recently revisited an old vendor to buy some marketing products. One employee explained how the owner almost went out of business a few years ago and complained that times were tough even now.

A quick glance around the production shop told the story. Equipment was archaic at best. The vendor couldn’t produce even the simplest of products for us by today’s standards. She struggled her way through the job, losing our confidence. Because she couldn’t output what she claimed, she had to compensate with products that we didn’t originally want. She also put undue pressure on us as she blew our deadline. We won’t be returning…nor, we suspect, will many of her other customers. Buy: Purchase reliable, portable tools to keep yourself organized. PDAs, phones with calendars and internet access allow you to stay on top of things even when you’re away from your desk. We use the Treo products offered by most of the major players.

(RIM the provider of the Blackberry currently has a $400 million to $1 billion patent suit that may affect several million subscribers, so step cautiously with this product for now.) Say you’re at an event and you have the good fortune of meeting a very lucrative prospect. You’re busy, he’s busy, and the timing is just right to make a follow-up appointment to talk serious business. Your chances of making that appointment happen, of closing a sale, and of building a long-term business relationship greatly increase if you can strike while the iron is hot. Having your calendar in your pocket via one of these handy devices affords you the ability to seize opportunity now, rather than having to wait until you return to the office and have to navigate your way past the prospect’s gatekeeper on the phone. Strategize: Visit your strategic plan and make adjustments. Our philosophy is that if management does not have their strategic plan on their desk regularly the plan is most likely useless. Think of it this way. When you travel you have your map or GPS with you and refer to it often.


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