Some people spend a lot of time putting out fires in their businesses
…fixing things that are broken.

Given that something’s metaphorically on fire, it’s an emergency to fix it.  And what’s ordinary for many people in an emergency, is to panic:

Scramble, rush, force, make loud noises.  FIX IT!  Hurry!  Whatever it takes!  Baling wire, duct tape, a hammer, spit– FIX IT!

Frequently, it’s a pattern in the business.  It’s become part of the system of how they do their work:

The company delivers a result for the Customer that is less than what was promised, rationalizing, “It’s good enough,” or worse, “I hope they won’t notice.”  THEN, when the customer protests, they scramble to deliver what the Customer may finally determine as, “Acceptable.”

Not exactly a satisfied Customer.

This pattern is VERY expensive for the business, as it requires projects to be done more than once.  Do-overs and cleanups are almost never billable to a Customer, thus, the business EATS the additional labor and material costs of delivering mediocre work to an unhappy Customer.  Too often, businesses end up literally PAYING money to finish a project, rather than creating profit on a project. The expenses tied to a project exceed the revenue received from the customer.  Repeating this pattern, dooms the business to failure.

Stop fixing things!

I recently made the acquaintance of a Lieutenant with Portland Fire & Rescue.  While talking about managing fires and other emergencies, he said:

“SLOW….. is FAST.”


PAUSE… What’s our plan, to produce the intended result?

What are the circumstances?  Where are we?
What resources and tools do we have available?
DESIGN A PLAN, which is very different than a panicked, “Fix it!”

THEN Take deliberate action.

Think about this.  It’s wise.  Those most likely to survive and thrive in and after an emergency, are those who’ve learned to THINK.  (Consider:  “thinking” is very different than “reacting.”)

Sometimes the fastest way of doing something, is to slow down.

A past Client coined a useful aphorism for himself:  “Do it nice, or do it twice.”*

*(I still love that, Mac.)