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Battery Farm

A man buys a phone from an online shop. The phone is dispatched and arrives promptly. The power supply is low energy, the packaging is recyclable, and it’s easy to set up. The man feels good about his purchase.

One day after setting the phone up, the man notices that one of the handsets isn’t working. He calls the helpline who very helpfully, help him to work out that the handset is fine; it’s the batteries that aren’t working (blush). The helpline doesn’t keep batteries but they know someone who does, and they give the man a phone number.

Our man phones the number – no sorry we can’t help but we know someone who can. Repeat x 3. The man gets nowhere so abandons this line of enquiry before unnecessary rage sets in.

Next the man tries email. He writes to the shop. They reply saying that if he believes the item to be faulty he must return it, in its entirety and the shop will test it and if it is faulty (because there is a chance the man is just making all this up for a laugh) they will send a replacement. The man points out (again) that the phone is not faulty it just needs a set of batteries that work. Seven email exchanges follow as various excuses why said batteries can’t be swapped are trotted out. Online vouchers are offered as part of this exchange – trouble is the shop where the vouchers are valid doesn’t sell the batteries! The man goes onto Twitter and tweets about this lousy experience.

Then the shop email with another phone number. You can call this number and get the batteries replaced. Hoorah! The man calls the number and yes, the person on this line can replace the batteries….for only £10.99. The man puts the phone down and writes another email to the shop. Far as I know – he’s still waiting.

I’m guessing there will eventually be a conclusion to this tale of how to turn a feel good into a feel bad. I can’t be certain though.

I’ve found £60,000 and no one seems to want it…?

In these troubled times, you’d think £60 grand might get snapped up quickly. As a company employee, customer, shareholder, you would think it won’t just lie around unloved for very long eh? Well you might be wrong. I’ve shared this little story with a few people who I thought could help make it come to life…nothing yet.

Here’s the story for you to read. Are we too big to care about £60,000?

I recently dumped my mobile phone and moved the number to my blackberry. It was very easy to do. I saved the company £30 per annum in line rental plus a few pennies in electricity plus there is now one less device to break, make redundant, be replaced. I wondered how many others in our division could do the same. I made some enquiries and it seems there are at least 2,000 people in the division with more than one mobile device.

2,000 x £30 = £60,000, back on the bottom line, every year. Or look at it another way. As we reshape our business, we’re insisting that everyone who enters the company redeployment centre completes 3 training sessions, at a cost of £52 per session. This money could pay the training cost for over 180 entrants to the centre. Or, we could use it to fund a small recognition scheme. There are lots of hard working, productive, engaged people out there who might appreciate a small gesture.

Or just stick it back on the bottom line. If 19 more people can find another lost £60,000 that’s over £1million. Think of the possibilities. Of course if no one else wants it…perhaps we could have it for my leaving do?

Right First Time or Rapid Failure?

Where I work, we aspire to be right first time. I’ve been thinking a lot about the merits or otherwise of that aspiration. Talking with a good friend the other day, he pointed me to this wonderful quote:

I’ve missed over 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

A long time ago, I found something hidden away in our leadership capabilities. I’ve lived by this for years and I love it.

Expects and encourages rapid failure in order to succeed

Right first time v rapid failure. Can you help balance that dilemma?