There are instances when there is tension between doing things the right way or doing them right now. With few exceptions, I prefer to do things the right way. The extra time spent today almost always pays long term dividends. Recently, I was working with a relatively new client to develop the first pass of their 2022 budget and found myself facing one of these decisions. We had a handful of people around the table staring at a screen on the wall and we were making changes “on the fly”. I was working with a spreadsheet that I inherited and while quite well done, I naturally wasn’t as familiar with it had I built it myself.
I made the decision to yield to the pressure of the moment which meant overwriting various formulas with hard-coded inputs. I simply didn’t have the time to trace through unfamiliar worksheets and understand the logic used to drive the results. I knew as I did this that the time saved at that moment was going to cost more hours down the road. So be it. Life doesn’t always present perfect choices and I felt this was the best path at that moment.
Ideally, however, the best choice is to stick to a process and methodology that will provide the best long term benefit. Countless times I’ve seen people take the path that is the quickest today but is far less efficient over the long term. They spend 10 minutes today rather than an hour that would fix the process in the long term. Over the course of the next year (assuming a monthly process) they’ve spent 120 minutes or two hours. I’d rather spend the hour once and be done with it.
The same holds true of delegation. I can almost always do something faster myself today as opposed to teaching someone else to do it. But what are the long term implications? Early in my career I had access to an administrative assistant who was well known for putting up a very solid defense when it came to taking on more work; therefore most people just avoided her rather than deal with her. I recall standing in front of her desk saying, “I will stand here all day before I do this myself.” Problem solved. A one-time “debate” turned into many months of saved time.
What processes are there in your life that could benefit from a longer term view? What are you doing in a manner that may be most efficient “right now” but is not necessarily the “right way”? How much time could you save over the coming year if you were to invest the time today to improve a process or two (or more!)?
If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected]
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