I seem to have hit a patch of bad luck with my recent interstate travels: the flights that I’m on are frequently getting cancelled or delayed. It is even more frustrating especially on a Friday evening when I look forward to getting home to my family. Friday nights are often pizza nights, and my wife makes great home-made pizzas. I enjoy a glass of red in the kitchen talking to her and the kids and love the smell from the oven in cool weather like these days.
When I am held back at the airport with delayed flights, I try to utilise time in a productive way – like writing this article. However, every time I look at the Departures Board for an update, I wonder what it would be like if the flight was on time – the difference in benefits at that moment, had I made a different choice in the past.
When I’m talking businesses & leaders about starting a journey to excellence, many feel like they are not ready to ‘board that flight’ just yet, delaying the start. I hear comments such as, “we’re not ready yet”, “we’re waiting for right people to come on board”, “our team is stretched on projects”, “we don’t’ have extra people to deploy this” etc.
There isn’t a single business that I have come across yet that has extra people or have spare time to start a continuous improvement journey. Like a newly married couple trying to figure out the ‘perfect time’ to have their first baby, amidst career challenges / opportunities, mortgage pressures, life issues etc., there isn’t a ‘perfect time’ for organisations to start an improvement journey. Instead, find a way to get started, and bring the water level below your chin level so that you can breathe easily to strategise and build momentum improving consistently.
Personal financial planners generally draw three lines to explore what would happen in each scenario over the next 3, 5, 10-year periods. These are:
- Do nothing – continue juggle as best as you can and continue to do so in the future.
- Do something – be content that things are somewhat in order.
- Do it faster – taking calculated risks that amplify results in shorter period of time.
With respect to starting a continuous improvement journey, I believe we can adopt a similar mindset. Here are three questions for you to consider:
What is the cost of doing nothing?
How long can you continue to burn profitability at the current rate
If you can’t make time to create time, when will you ever have the time?