This quote is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Its the truth ! I realised this a few days back when I cut into a three week old pumpkin and because of a tiny hole that I had missed earlier I threw 30% of the vegetable into garbage.
As I have mentioned in some of my earlier blogs ever since I became a part of the Living Without Medicine group, we have been getting organic vegetables getting delivered at home weekly.
The pumpkin is a huge favourite at home. I make it into a soup or a curry and sometimes its added to the sambar. Usually I get a medium sized whole pumpkin and its lying outside till I want to use it. Three weeks back the farmer got me a huge pumpkin and I didn’t notice a small hole at one end of the pumpkin.
When I cut into the pumpkin a few days back, nearly 30% had spoilt.
Its indeed true that if you fail to plug a small hole, it ends up sinking a big ship !
Small Expense is a Small Hole
Warren Buffett says it another way – “If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need,”. He should know !! He watches out for the small expenses before they can add up to a huge amount and he is a self made billionaire. Guess what, when his first child was born, he converted a dresser drawer into a bassinet. For his second child, he borrowed a crib.
Am sure neither child had a problem with the dresser drawer or the borrowed crib because they grew out of it. When I see parents indulging in clothes/accessories etc for their children, I sometimes wonder whether its money spent well.
My father never allowed me to have more than a couple of dresses right upto college. His constant point was, you spend nearly the whole day in your school uniform and you will keep out growing your clothes. Why waste money on things that you won’t use anyway. While I didn’t like hearing it at that time, it was a great lesson I wish I had learnt.
The bankruptcy several years later, brought home this exact point … a small hole that wasn’t plugged in time, led to sinking of a large ship. When the cost of borrowing went up significantly, we should have stopped borrowing and didn’t… paid for it with bankruptcy.
Small Misses are Small Holes
At work, when you find someone missing out on basic details constantly, think of it as a small hole.. if you do not plug it right away, it will lead to disastrous consequences.
For instance, an employee does not meet the deadline and comes up with an excuse on why he/she couldn’t complete the task without prior information. It can happen once or twice, but if its a pattern, then call it out. Some incompetent people survive in organisations by constantly moving the goal post. You ask about “X”, they will start talking about exciting “Y” and how “Y” took away all the time and “X” couldn’t be completed.
If you remember about “Y” and follow up they talk of “Z” and this keeps happening. During the lockdown this has become very convenient. I know someone who is forever “busy” attending some meeting but nothing gets delivered on time !!!!! Yeah, I can see my ex-colleagues laughing as they read this line because they know the look I have on my face as I think of this person.
Small misses leave gaping holes that will sink an otherwise good project/product/service. Plug that leak early and be vigilant.