My sister received the remains of an envelope from me in the mail.  Somehow, in the Post Office’s automated machine, it tore the envelope open on all four sides and the contents were delivered to my sister in a plastic bag.

The bag read: “WE CARE” and went on to “sincerely regret the damage to your mail.  We hope this incident did not inconvenience you.”  It went on to explain that occasionally damage will occur “because of the great volume handled and the rapid processing methods which must be employed to assure the most expeditious distribution possible.”

What is the appropriate intersection of speed and quality?  In their efforts to go fast, the Post Office mutilated this letter.  Should they slow down and have better results?

The trade off is a question for your organization too.  At what point do you sacrifice one thing for another:  speed for quality; price for quality; price for service; speed for personal attention — the list goes on and on.

There is no right answer, but there are right questions.  Be sure you know what you’re giving up, not just what you’re getting.

— beth triplett

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