It’s humiliating to make business mistakes – especially the habitual ones that have gone undiscovered until now. “Why have I been doing this, all these years? How idiotic.”
After that, it’s gratifying. Embarrassing realizations are forerunners of steps forward, precursors to progress.
In a sense, continuous improvement is a matter of moving from one mistake or omission to another, seen in retrospect.
- Color blind people can’t read our logo.
- Google isn’t indexing a lot of my pages. Why didn’t I submit a sitemap?
- We qualified for that subsidized loan 24 months ago, without being aware of it.
Continuous improvement, once you’ve got over the red face, can feel like a dull way to make progress. How much more exciting to create breakthroughs.
But when viewed closely enough, “continuous” actually looks like small steps or innovations. It’s just a matter of scale.
On that basis, make a fool of me anyday.
Most of us have heard of the resources curse. The notion is that countries blessed with natural resources don’t end up doing as well as those that start out with nothing. Think Venezuela with all its oil, versus Japan, possessing few natural advantages.
The concept can apply equally as well to people.
Those endowed with gifts sometimes cruise along, not as diligent as others, and often accomplishing less with their lives.
Having never worked for their blessings, these people may not know where these came from. Consequently, they don’t know how to protect them or reclaim the gifts when gone.
Possible types of bestowed advantages include sporting talent, family money, social connections, educational opportunities, good looks and intelligence.
Big achievers often come from behind, spurred on by an acute awareness of what’s lacking in their lives. They get enormous satisfaction from filling this deficit.
The “lucky ones”, meanwhile, sit back and wonder where on earth it all went.
It’s not how you start out that matters, it’s what you become.
Every cloud is trimmed with gold braid – even lockdown.
- It reduces our range of activities. This hurts, but also allows us to focus. We can concentrate on two or three important areas, rather than six or seven.
- Normal activities often involve conflicts. For example, R&D and sales can be in opposition. If we can deliver on one of these we’ll achieve something.
- Stressed systems, such as hearing, nerves, or our livers are given a compulsory rest.
- Lockdown forces us to do old things in new ways, as many of the historic routines can’t be sustained. Often the new ways will be found to be better.
- Fewer resources means we have to do things more cheaply or simply. Some of these economies will survive the ending of the crisis.
- Inevitably, lockdown will put firms out of business and reduce competition. This is a grim fact. If you can survive, you’ll find a clearer field afterwards. The enterprises that were struggling in normal times will have folded.
- On that topic, Bill Gates has said that every business should aim to have a year’s reserves – in other words, be able to last 12 months without sales. Who the hell can do that? Still, you can see his point.