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Business Improvement and Training in Bunbury

Got Gaps that are Going Unclosed?

Imagine you live in a small country down with only one grocery store. You take your groceries for payment and the young fella at the checkout scans them. You decide to pay with cash and as you’re  walking out the store, you realise that he has short-changed you by 5c.

The question is: Would you turn on the spot and inform the young man of his 5c error? I’m expecting that you (like most others) wouldn’t bother. Let’s add to the story. You continue to shop at this store each week, and each time the same clerk short-changes you by 5c.

How long would it take before you dealt with it? Virtually everyone agrees that eventually they would have to say something. Some would be onto it the second time. Others would wait until ‘the camel’s back broke’ This is ‘the last straw’ approach and is the least effective way to fix problems. Often we reach the end of our wick, just waiting for it to happen again and then we let fly!

“If you short change me 5c again…!!! Meanwhile the stunned clerk is thinking “Good grief. It’s only 5c!” not aware that it has been going on for weeks.

A final question. Would you go back if you were short-changed $10? I thought so. Too often, this is how we deal with gaps in business. We are all over the $10 ones, but the 5c gaps that just keep chipping away, either are ignored or dealt with as a ‘last straw’. Furthermore, each time you allow a gap to pass (be it 5c or $10) you are essentially providing permission for that to keep happening.

If you have problems (gaps) then deal with them all. That is, be hard on the problem, not on the person. The person is rarely the root cause for the gap. Alternatively, if it’s not worth dealing with, then it should not be part of your standards, policies etc in the first place – so it isn’t really a gap. In other words – get over it!

Naturally, it is better to close the gap than to lower your standards – right?

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin

Business Coach, Bunbury WA

2 Responses to “Business Improvement and Training in Bunbury”

  • Mary says:

    Thanks for sharing this Jeff. For me, I would reprimand the clerk on the first time he/she does that. I usually count my change every time and a single cent always counts. I have also learned a lot from an Austin internet marketing company that some clerks do that to be able to have some money after their shifts from the changes that they cheated.

  • admin says:

    Thanks for reading and for your comments. Of course I was not talking literally about store clerks and people getting short changed…. It was an analogy of how ‘gaps’ (problems) are often dealt with (or not dealt with) in the work place.


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