Improve Your Business
With A Dumb Meeting


by Tom Egelhoff

Over the past 30 years or so I've talked to a lot of employees of a lot of different companies. One of the questions I always ask is, "What do you think of the company?" One of the most common responses to that question is, "I like the company but it seems like we really do have a dumb way of doing some things."

For example, years ago I worked for a clay pipe company. We sold and delivered clay pipe to lumberyards and cities for water and sewer lines. After working there for a couple of weeks I noticed a procedure that didn't seem to make sense to me.

When we delivered a split trailer truck load of pipe to two or three customers we always went to the furthest customer first and worked our way back. Being the new guy I assumed that they have been doing this for a long time and I probably shouldn't question it but I finally did.

It seemed to me if we went to the furthest customer first we were traveling the longest distance with a full load using the most gas. But, if we started unloading at the closest customer first we would be empty at the furthest point and would travel the longest distance empty which should take a lot less gas. And, going to the furthest point first there is a greater chance of breakage because the entire load was going the furthest distance.

I finally got up the nerve to go to the delivery manager and ask my question. His response, "Wow, that's a good idea. We've just always done it that way." So I learned early in my career that sometimes insiders fall into that comfort zone and never even notice costly procedures.

That little suggestion landed me a nice little bonus in my next paycheck. I always encourage business owners to request any question, no matter how dumb from all their NEW employees. Sometimes these folks will notice things long time employees have become complacent about.

What I'm taking a long time to say is that you should start having "What we do dumb" meetings at your business. Not a gripe session about what you don't like but a productive idea and strategy session looking for ways to cut costs and improve the way you do business.

You'll benefit by saving some money, the employees will be happy because they are doing their job more efficiently and the customer benefits by better service, quality and products. It's a win, win, win for everyone.

Do I need to say you're really dumb if you don't try it??


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