engraving BUSINESS MANAGEMENT By ashley bray By JOHN HACKLEY
Changing Closely Held Beliefs How sacred cows disrupt throughput and opportunity.
Sign Builder Illustrated
procedures tell the real story. How’s it working for you now? Maybe it’s time for a shift. Changing even one closely held belief could pave the way to exciting new avenues of profit and opportunity. Unfortunately getting ownership to change is extremely difficult. Old rules die hard, and most people will want to continue using those timeworn rules they were taught when times were much different. In the sign industry, the sacred cows are the untouchable protocols and polices that companies cherish most. Whether self-inflicted or imposed by someone else, they’ve been part of the company for so long that no one knows their true origins. And because they’re sometimes perceived as the “heart and soul” of the company or system, they’re never challenged. Sacred cows are easy to identify: simply challenge the status quo. You’ll hear it vehemently defended by someone insisting, “We’ve always done it this way!”
or “This is the essence of our company!” or my personal favorite—“We don’t change very fast around here.” If they said, “It can’t be done!” you’ve found a smoking gun that will lead you to a sacred cow. And sacred cows, although they are hard to change, yield the most profit when they are topped. Sacred Cows Everywhere Herds of sacred cows are running around everywhere! Here are just a few that I’ve witnessed in the signage industry. • “We only sell what we can make in our facility.” • “Only the owner can write and approve estimates.” • “Orders cannot be released without a client signature.” • “Projects start when all documents are received.” • “We’re too busy.” There is so much room for eliminating unnecessary “old ways” in business. signshop.com
Photo: Shutterstock/ fizkes
n my role as a business “efficiency” expert, what I see in almost every business, regardless of industry, is not some great new technology innovation to be implemented; instead it’s old beliefs and outdated protocols, rules, and polices referred to as “sacred cows.” And it is these sacred cows that are disrupting throughput and opportunity. Defined by Wikipedia, a sacred cow is an idiom based on the popular understanding of the elevated place of cows in Hinduism. A figurative sacred cow is a figure of speech for something considered immune from question or criticism (especially unreasonably so), and for this article, I’m focusing on how these figurative sacred cows relate to business and what they suggest about a company’s leadership and culture. So does your company behave in a manner that supports your beliefs and values? Really? Are you sure? Whatever it is, your rules, policies, and