Turning the Screw

August 8, 2012  

This is the 5th article in a series on alternative paths to success

I was once told a story while working at UPS. At its Louisville, Kentucky, air hub, hundreds of thousands of packages go through the sorter every day. This is a critical operation that is supported by a complex conveyor system. If the conveyors go down, packages might be late and significant time and money can be lost.

One day, the story goes, the conveyors stopped working for some unknown reason. The engineers tried to restart it, but to no avail. So they called in the best conveyor consultant around.

He walked into the package center, looked around for about three minutes, walked to the far end of the building, opened an electrical box, turned one screw, and to everyone’s delight, the conveyors started running again.

The package center manager was thrilled, and asked the consultant for his bill.

The consultant thought about it and said, “Ten thousand dollars.”  The manager was shocked, “Ten thousand dollars for five minutes work? Give me an itemized bill.” So the consultant pulled out his pen and wrote a two-line invoice.

First line read, “$500 — turning the screw.”

The second line read, ” $9,500 — knowing which screw to turn.”

He got his fee.

Not all activities have the same impact.

  • Some activities have little or no (or possibly a negative) impact on your success and business.  Eliminate these.
  • Other activities have a linear impact.  They will improve the business, but not radically.  Delegate these.
  • The activities where you want to focus your energy are those that create exponential returns; the things that give you incredible leverage.  Focus your energies here.

Look at how you spend your time.  Are you getting an hour of return for an hour’s work?  If so, that is not good enough.  Get creative.  Find ways of creating massive results with little effort.

We will continue to explore this concept in the next blog entries coming soon.

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