A month ago, I had the opportunity to hear Reverend Leon Kelly speak. Rev. Kelly is the leader of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives here in Denver and has devoted decades to the fight against gang violence, so it was unusual that he would spend his morning speaking to a group of business leaders. During his lively presentation he called out the audience for the ease at which many of us ignore the problem because it may not be taking place in our neighborhood, yet he highlighted the significant potential impact on our community if nothing was done. While our natural instinct may be to focus on what is right in front of us, I started thinking about how this may apply within our company.
Tackling the trivial?
I realized that there were a number of issues that I had been ignoring simply because they haven’t been a major issue or problem—“little fires” if you will. And although those little fires weren’t major problems, they were still weighing on me at the back of my mind. I started by calling attention to the clutter that had begun to accumulate in our lunchroom and training room, putting an end to what was quickly becoming a de facto storage closet. I then had a conversation with my operations manager about the replacing the tires for one of our trucks that we had been putting off. Next was that increase in prices we had been discussing for months, and then on to removing the chipped and scratched plates from our inventory that were ripe for a customer complaint. I continued my crusade of tackling these “little fires.” These may sound fairly trivial, but by focusing a little bit of time and effort on those areas, I immediately felt better and quickly realized the how important it was that I dealt with them when I did.
We always have to prioritize what’s most important, but many times putting out a “little fire” before it becomes a “big fire” ends up costing less and taking less time and fewer resources. My challenge to you this month is: What are the little things you’ve been putting off? Or what actions could you take today to prevent a small problem from becoming a big problem in the future. What are the areas in your community where a little effort on your part can make a significant difference? Taking a few minutes each day to tackle these items might save you money and headaches down the road as well as giving you a greater sense of purpose.