the importance of understanding delay

in solving daily problems, it is important to understand the cause-effect relationship. what problems caused by which root causes.

the same importance goes to understanding the possible “delay” between our actions and the effects.

finding the root cause of a problem has been well known by many people in business and non-business, but many of them do not understand (or seek to understand) whether their improvement actions will create instance impact to the problem or there will be delay.

last nite during my dinner in a small resto near my house, i remembered an old experience at  another resto.

couple weeks ago my wife and i had a dinner in a nice but crowded resto. while we enjoyed our spicy food, my wife ordered lemon tea. Having wait for ten minutes or so, my wife called another waiter and told him that she ordered another lemon iced tea. until we had finished our dinner, the lemon ice tea did not show up on our table, hence my wife was so upset (well, the food was spicy) and complained to the supervisor of the resto; she reminded that she want her lemnon tea.

within 5 minutes, three different waiters were rushing brought three glasses of lemon tea!

apparently, because it was so crowded, the resto had problems in tracking the orders and who’re working or delivering them to each table. The consequence was many orders at that nite were counted as two or three different orders, because many guests did not realized that there were many delays and there was a total mess in the orders tracking. people in the back office did not realize that many orders were actually just reminders/redundants.

The moral of the story is, if we don’t understand there is a delay between our action (“order lemon tea”) and the effect (“getting the lemon tea”), we tend to keep repeating our actions (reminding, re-ordering, complaining) until we get the result. If we understand it, our action might be quite different.

In real business situation, how many times you are doing many different things, tweaking actions, cancelling your one-month old advertising, or trashing execution just because you have not seen the result yet?

How many times your boss stopped your projects because they do not see any improvement after waiting for [just] 3 weeks?

Do your boss understand there is delay between today’s action and the effect?

OR, do YOU understand it and have explained to your boss and other stakeholders?

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