Skip to main content

Beware of the Decay of Standards

Over time standards often drop. This can affect all manner of things within your business, from customer service, to quality records, and more.

There is an interesting insight to this called 'broken window theory' (Wilson and Kelling), where windows were seen to be broken on derelict buildings, and as it was seen as OK (i.e. no one was prosecuted) then everyone else joined in. Eventually all of the windows were smashed out, by people who normally wouldn't get involved.

How does this manifest in your business? Do people see others who don't tow the line and complete the necessary actions / disciplines without corrective actions being taken? Do they then follow suit?

A good example of this going wrong in a manufacturing business is with data entries into an MRPII system (or the routines around the system). A failure to provide the right information, or inputs, can create all kinds of chaos. I see many businesses where the users put up with the chaos and create workarounds instead!

Becoming slightly more formal (especially if your business has grown) is one way to resolve this. We need a few people in the business who will say something (and do something) if standards are dropping. Find some small issues and tackle them. Momentum can build from getting small disciplines in place, and it is up to all of us to keep the necessary standards in place.


Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.