A considerable detour on my return from a holiday yesterday was far from ideal, but gave me plenty of time to contemplate the first day back at work for 2013. Over the past couple of weeks I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how we as a company, need to improve in the New Year and ensure we are prepared to capitalise on our continual, rapid growth. The simple outcome of these musings is; do the little things right. Its basic advice that you hear time and time again, but far too often it is advice that gets forgotten when big, exciting opportunities present themselves.
That brings me back to the journey home; after making a considerable dent in what should’ve been a pleasant 4 ½ hour drive home, we came to a dreaded ‘road closed’ sign…problem. The engineer was 2 hours away from assessing the bridge in question we were informed (along with what seemed like half of Christchurch’s population) and IF he OK’d everything then would be allowed through. Never one to leave things up to fate, we did an immediate U-turn and headed back up the road and nearly doubled the length of our journey home by taking the next quickest route…solution (not ideal but a solution none the less). As we wound our way through the mountainous roads of New Zealand’s beautiful South Island, I vowed never to leave on a long journey again without checking out the road closures online…lesson.
So tired and dishevelled we arrived home, but not before I had given some good thought to how this little excursion could be translated into getting the little things right in our business. Problems are going to arise in business, its unavoidable and often outside your control. As they do you’ll have to come up with solutions; fixing problems is generally a poor use of time but an unfortunate necessity. The key is learning a lesson to ensure you don’t need to fix the same problem in the future and using problems to encourage continuous improvement. I am going to trial this problem, solution, lesson theory with my team and see if we can’t make it damn hard not to get the little things right.