The Systems Thinker Blog

Discover the Hidden Gold in Your Business Systems and Processes!

Posted byRon Carroll

What your customers and employees think of your company, and how much profit your company generates, are the result of small and simple things—mostly unnoticed—that go on every day in your business operation.

A Valuable Lesson

In 1849, a young merchant from Massachusetts was caught up in the excitement of the California gold rush. He sold everything he had to move west and seek his fortune. He was told the gold nuggets were so big that a person could hardly carry them.

Largest Gold NuggetThe world’s largest Gold Nugget ever found.
Discovered in 1872 and called the Holtermann Nugget.
It was 630 lbs in weight.

Day after day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. All he had was a growing pile of rocks to show for his efforts. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit. Then, late one afternoon, an old experienced prospector happened by and said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you’ve got there, my boy.”

The young man responded, “There’s no gold in this river. I’m going back home.”

Walking to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is plenty of gold in this river. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked up two rocks and smashed them together. One of the rocks cracked open, revealing several flecks of gold that sparkled in the sunlight.

The young man noticed a bulging leather pouch tied around the prospector’s waist. He said, “I’m looking for gold nuggets like the ones in your bag, not just tiny flecks.”

The prospector opened his pouch and extended it toward the young man. He looked inside, expecting to see a handful of large nuggets, but was shocked to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of tiny flecks of gold.

The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me, you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’ve missed filling your pouch with these precious gold flecks. The gradual accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”

Discover the Gold Flecks in Your Business Processes

The tiny flecks of profit in your business are found at the detail level of your business operations. Like the rock, you may have to crack open and examine your business processes to find them. Small changes to eliminate waste—deviation, defects, and delay—will fill your pouch with the gold you seek.  Daily innovation and improvement will gradually make you wealthy.

Remember: “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

 

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Tags: Business Systems, Improvement, Laws/Principles, Cost Cutting