I learned this lesson as a kid, though I certainly didn't realize it at the time. The teacher: my Dad. The subject: Pancakes. Not just any old pancakes; these were Buttermilk Griddlecakes, made from scratch. Most weekends involved them and they were amazing. They were made step-by-step, with fresh ingredients, and lots of love. I can taste them now, just thinking about them! It's a gift I enjoyed sharing with my own sons as they were growing up.
Sure, you can quickly whip up pancakes from a box mix, or pop some frozen ones in the toaster oven. Those shortcuts will get them ready fast, although they will likely taste like a cross between wet wall board and warm bread. Or, you can take the time to do it right and delight your family (especially your own kids)! It doesn't take a great deal longer, especially if you’re efficient.
It's always wise to seek out efficiencies in any process but, if that quest turns into taking shortcuts, you'll end up short-changing your customers. And you can be guaranteed that they’ll soon notice if you've substituted “quick-mix” for the real thing. Good processes are designed to deliver a consistent outcome, one that is appetizing and will keep clients coming back for more. They'll appreciate the extra care you've taken to deliver something better, something worth remembering – and recommending.
So, finding ways to streamline and properly sequence steps in any process will pay off, especially when you can deliver the result more swiftly, consistently and cost-effectively. Take pause, however, when it comes to eliminating steps, or combining them. Make sure that approach doesn't homogenize the end result. Your customers will know the difference!
As I think back about it, my father never took shortcuts. He approached everything in his life the way he made pancakes. “Do things the right way, always give it your best, and no one can ask anything more of you.” That's pretty darn good advice.
Enjoy the Journey!