The 80% Rule, Part 2

In the second of this two-part series, we take a look at how businesses often fail to change small things that could make a large impact.  When I was in high school we were fortunate to have some of the first computers available in public education.  In 11th grade Computer Science we were tasked with writing a simple amortization schedule program in Turbo Pascal.  When I finished my coding the teacher told me it could not possibly work correctly because it was too short.  My code was about half as large as the code the teacher had written for the same program.  As a bit of flair, I even had each line of the chart alternate with blue and green for ease of reading.   After demonstrating my code, the teacher’s only comment was, “That was a very innovative approach.”

One of the gifts I have been blessed with is the ability to think creatively when it comes to accomplishing goals and objectives.  As mentioned in Efficiency 101, thought processes come to me as logical steps.  It only makes sense to do some things before others or to think in productive patterns to reach a goal efficiently.  Many businesses could be more productive if only they sought the perspective of someone from outside their business who could apply these rules and evaluate how they currently operate.  One of the phrases I dislike most is, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”  That very thought causes many businesses to remain status quo and never forge ahead in search of more business, revenues, and ultimately profits.  As discussed in Part One of this two-part series, software solutions for any business may only address approximately 80% of core needs.  The other 20% often has to be addressed  through process and procedure changes.  In order to effect these changes, many business owners and decision makers must be willing to seek the advice of a competent and experienced business analyst.  While every business has its own specific nuances, the owners and decision makers must be open to constructive criticism.  Some businesses may recognize savings from personnel reductions or the ability to reassign some personnel to different areas if they would seek to improve more often.  Businesses who do not innovate and improve on a continual basis often face fierce competition.  The truth is, no matter how good a product is, consumers want change and improvement in products and services whenever they can have it.  They always want something better than what is currently available.  How often do you take a serious look at your internal business processes and evaluate whether there is room for improvement?  If you have taken steps to improve a process, how many times have you immediately discussed whether there is still yet, more room for improvement?

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