Every decision we take has consequence.Do you think that is obvious?
In fact, it is not obvious and neither is it true. It is only partially true.
Every decision we take has (at least) TWO consequences; the intended (anticipated) consequence and the unintended consequence.
If you choose to put your foot down and drive faster, the main (intended) consequence is that you will be travelling faster and arrive at your destination a bit sooner.
There are many other consequences, some of which can be identified with little mental effort (increased fuel consumption, increased wear on tyres) and some are a bit harder to identify. You may talk less to your passenger because you are concentrating on driving fast, or you may get a speeding fine.
Sometimes these unintended consequences are simply an inconvenience and as such are inconsequential. Sometimes the unintended consequence is serious and debilitating – like having a fatal accident.
It is worth noting that these consequences are NOT mutually exclusive. You may arrive earlier at your destination and spend less time talking to your passenger.
I can’t imagine that it would be too hard to build up some discipline around your decision-making in your retail business.
YOU CHOOSE TO PUT YOUR STAFF THROUGH SECURITY SCREENING BEFORE EMPLOYMENT
- Intended consequence: To ensure you have properly vetted, reliable staff
- Unintended consequence: You don’t see the warning signs of fraud because you think your staff are beyond suspicion
YOU PUT UP A SIGN TO WARN CUSTOMERS THAT THE STORE IS UNDER SURVEILLANCE
- Intended consequence: To reduce theft by making sure customers who may be tempted, are reminded that they may be caught.
- Unintended consequence: Customers feel the store attracts unsavoury characters and that they are not trusted and are being watched.
YOU PUT A BARGAIN BIN OUT FRONT IN THE LANDING ZONE OF YOUR STORE
- Intended consequence: To clear old stock
- Unintended consequence: Your store image is tarnished and people perceive you to be cheap and are only prepared to buy cheap things in your store
The challenge is that, since the two outcomes are not mutually exclusive, to consider which consequence is the most likely and the most powerful.
The unintended consequence is the price you pay for the intended result and it may or may not be worth it.
The only way to deal with this is to become disciplined about identifying those unintended consequences and evaluating the risk/benefit of suffering from it. And this discipline applies to every decision you take.
Let’s try this at home:
Consider the following scenario/decision, and think about what the unintended consequences may be.
YOU CHOOSE NOT TO TRAIN YOUR STAFF
- Intended consequence: To save money because the employee churn is too high to get payback
- Unintended consequence: ????
Over to you: What do you think are some of the possible unintended outcomes?
Ganador: Learning to perform in the 21st century.