You can find valuable items if you know where to look

Sometimes the best gifts of all are hard to find. You have to search for them.

My 2-year old son was opening a present from grandma and grandpa - it was a gift bag with lots of tissue paper. He pulled out the first layer of paper and uncovered several pairs of Diego socks. (Diego is a popular cartoon character for those of you who aren't lucky enough to know who he is.) Even though they had Diego on them, the socks were quickly pushed back into the bag as my son quickly focused on another present.

As I began to say, "Tell grandma and grandpa thank you," grandma suggested he look and see if there was anything in the bottom of the bag. He faced a conundrum - open the big present that awaited him or go back to the bag to see if there was something valuable at the bottom.

The decision my son faced is similar to decisions you make in your firm every day. What gifts are you leaving at the bottom of your presents? Or, from another perspective, what opportunities are you missing because you aren't getting to the true root cause of issues?

Don't Just Scratch the Surface

It's all too easy to dismiss an issue based upon what you discovered at the surface. If your organization fails to make measurable improvements to the pressing issues you are experiencing, you will face the following consequences:

  • Problems reappear. The problems you think you solved will continue to pop-up again and again.
  • Investment of time multiplies. The initial time spent just scratching the surface will be small in comparison to the additional time you are going to spend in the long run. By investing a little more time upfront to truly get to the root cause of the problem, you will save multiples of that time down the road.
  • Frustration spreads. With this vicious cycle repeating itself, you will leave many in your organization in a continual state of frustration. They will think that you just passed the ball for another day.
Find Your Treasure

Have you ever dug six inches deep into a problem, found pebbles and thought that's all there is to it? If you had dug another foot deep, would you have found the buried treasure? If you view the problem as an opportunity from the start, you'll be surprised at what you find.

Decisions are made in firms all the time based upon pebbles found. When that happens, you've failed to unearth the treasures that exist. Isn't the future of your firm worthy of the extra time needed to get to the root causes of your problems and processes?

My son decided to go back to his gift bag and there he found the items he really wanted - a pair of Diego sunglasses and a Diego puzzle. Even though it was a cloudy day, he immediately put on the sunglasses and wanted to start putting together the puzzle. It looks like he made the right decision to spend a little more time on the present he had in front of him. His "digging" paid off big time.

Don't skip from digging one six inch hole to another, failing to make progress. Discover the root causes of your problems. Lean tools can help you dig deeper.

Lean CPA
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