Tuesday, 10 March 2015

To Dither or not to Dither

Dithering is not productive. If you have a decision to make, make it, clearly having given it due consideration first, but it cannot take forever. And seek empowerment for goodness sake. It is an overused word in business these days, but we have to be allowed to use our commonsense. Most issues concern finding the right balance between risk and reward, and with clear guidelines most of us are able to see the wood for the trees.

Now you may be thinking that poor old Hugh has been plagued by ditherers in recent days. Well yes and no, really. I usually am one way or another because I have a sales function to perform and the time between offering my wares and getting a yes or no is often a frustrating one. I don’t get why it takes so long sometimes because it is not...it really is not...rocket science.

However, the customer is always right. You take as long as you like. But actually what caused me to put finger to keyboard right now is the idea of risk and reward being at the crux of the matter with every business decision.

The risk can be the cost. This is going to cost me £100 and the reward is that pile in the corner of the office is going to disappear. Sustainability will have been supported and my data will have been dealt with, leaving me with the paperwork to prove it and a warm feeling of indescribable joy.

It’s often the cost that causes the dithering of course. Oh the boss won’t like that at all, having to pay £100 to get rid of 3 old PC’s, that broken kettle and those two old phone handsets. There is no budget for that and if head office finds out, heads will roll for sure. In my experience there is much more dithering over £100 than there ever is over £1,000.

£100 is a decent meal out for you and the other half, with wine. It’s a trip to the cinema and a take away after. No popcorn though, popcorn is ruinously expensive in my experience. It’s almost two thirds of two adult tickets to see the mighty Arsenal lose to Monaco. It’s a year’s subscription to Netflix. It is not a fortune.

Quite often we get asked to take away some broken desks, or chairs, or cupboards along with our usual. And we charge for it. No one seems to mind about that too much, because we are doing them a favour. It is obvious waste and there is no perceived value. But for some unknown reason just because something has a plug people dither.

Oh do you know what? I am always quite excited when I see that someone has a pile of non-WEEE rubbish that they would absolutely love us to take as well as their WEEE, because it means instant gratitude. They could have found someone else to get the real rubbish but it would have cost them in time and hassle as well as cost, so all of a sudden we are the good guys.

But suggest that the aforementioned broken kettle, clapped out PC and old phone handsets are rubbish as well and will be charged for accordingly and there is a sharp intake of breath. The boss won’t like that.

Well the boss won’t like being fined when your database gets stolen either. He won’t like it if he gets caught trying to slip business waste into the local council tip either. There are lots of things he won’t like that £100 prevents him from suffering these days. So surprise the boss. Tell him you have saved the company database from breach, tell him that you have operated within WEEE regulations and the data protection act and have the paperwork to prove it. And tell him that it only cost £100. He will be dead chuffed. Promise.