It’s a simple principle but powerful nonetheless.
Over the Xmas holidays I did some of the usual around the house chores that we all do. As I was cleaning the pool one day, skimming the fruit husks that lightly fall down from the palm trees, I did a silly thing that many small businesses do on a daily basis. In fact, many individuals run the whole lives like this.
Here’s what happened…
I skim the husks off the surface of the pool and the kids and I jumped in and had a wonderful swim.
The next day I woke to the same damn problem. A pool surface covered with the same husks.
You probably realise where this is going.
The convenient thing to do, the thing that takes the least amount of time on the day, is to skim the surface again and go for a swim. What I should have done, was take the extra time, go get my extension saw, chop the branch off the palm and then clean the pool. But in my laziness of holiday mode, I took the shortcut. I was completely aware of it as it happened and decided to take the expedient route anyway.
I couldn’t help it, by Day 3, I had to chop it down. It’s just too dumb to continue skimming the surface wasting all this time on a daily basis, when the simple solution is to cut the branch down.
Yet this is how so many people run their businesses. They continue to put out fires on a daily basis instead of implement the systems that allow the free running of profits unhindered by laziness and skimming the surface.
People in leadership and upper management positions who quickly deal with someone because it’s efficient to do so, but never get to the true cause of “why” the issue occurred.
This “skim” mentality is the reason so many businesses and lives for the matter remain stagnating in inferior and less than desirable states.
Curing this skim mentality is no more difficult than identifying the root cause and cutting it out and replacing it with a more proactive approach so the issues are either eliminated altogether or managed appropriately as they occur.