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Making the Right Turn

Most change and improvement comes in small steps and minute increments. I grow tired of politicians, critics, and commentators who respond to good ideas by proclaiming, “That suggestion won’t solve the entire problem.”

I have a friend and colleague who is a well-known author and speaker. He is fond of explaining, “One hundred 1% solutions are as good as a 100% solution.” Long-term success rarely comes from the grand-slam homerun or the 100-yard touchdown run. It, instead, comes from moving the runner to first base or the football down the field.

Recently, I read about an amazing breakthrough improvement made by United Parcel Service. UPS saved over $25 million in a decade, delivered more packages in a shorter time, and improved safety while lowering their carbon emissions’ impact by simply routing their trucks to cut out left turns. An enterprising person at UPS discovered that by using the computer to establish more efficient routes that incorporated a series of right looping turns instead of left turns, which force drivers to cross traffic and wait for lights to change, the company cut costs, improved safety, and increased profits.

Now I can hear the gloom-and-doom critics asking, “What does $25 million over 10 years really mean to UPS?” Any time you run across someone who thinks $25 million doesn’t matter, just tell them to make that check out to Jim Stovall, and they can reach me via the contact information provided below.

The breakthrough in the right-hand turn policy is not just the $25 million, the improved efficiency, the increased safety, or the lowered emissions; it fosters a culture of thought, exploration, and improvement. If you can get a group of people to stop criticizing every thought or idea that doesn’t solve the whole problem, and get them to start looking for 1% improvements in their own sphere of influence or scope of work, you can change the world.

Great ideas build upon one another. They come about when average people think and act in extraordinary ways.

As you go through your day today, look for the 1% right turn in your own world.

Today’s the day!