Sunday, 26 October 2014

Is 100% the goal?

When we have a problem, our instinct is to want to solve it - completely and finally. We crave for final solutions, cross the line off the list, move on to something else and not have to worry about it again.

If I see I have 100K in unpaid bills, I want to make sure bills will be paid on time. How about a late payment penalty in the contract? How about harassing clients until they pay up? Or better still, how about no longer working with bad payers?

Improvement is different. The question now is how do I cut my unpaid bills in half - say to 50K. in doing this I'll discover that there are all sorts of reasons why clients don't pay on time - or should I say in my time. Some are contractual, some are logistical, some are indeed inefficiencies on their part, but some are also due to my own screw ups or lack of follow up. Maybe I don't send my invoices at the right time for them? Maybe I haven't filled in the paperwork correctly because I find it stupid?

Solving half the problem changes things. The countermeasures I will discover to improve are different from the 100% solution I'd need to solve the entire problem. Changing things through countermeasures also changes the entire situation and maybe, when I'm down to 50% of the problem, things look different: some doors have closed and others have opened.

100% solutions rarely work and are often quite scary. Improvement means cutting the size of the problem by half, stop, breathe and take another look at it. The lay of the land already looks different.

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