Even though my house is fairly new, the air conditioner stopped running last week. The repairman came, had to come back in a day because the unit was frozen up, had to order a part, and then came back four days later to replace a major component of my system. Let’s just say it was not cheap.

I now have a new aluminum coil, to replace the one made of copper. The technician explained to me that several houses of my age have had this problem. When the houses were built copper was at a premium price; therefore, the coil manufacturer decided to devise a way to use a bit less copper. In doing so, they make the coil thinner — which made it more susceptible to pin holes. Eight years later, coolant leaked out of one such hole and left me with my problem.

I would guess that at the time, some engineer was rewarded for finding a way to save money and make the coil using less resources. I doubt they intentionally made a flawed product, but it seems they produced one nonetheless. 

Think about this in your organization when you are on a quest to save money. Have you thought about the long term implications of your frugality? Are you prepared to risk your reputation for short term gain? 

We say not to sweat the small stuff, but it only takes a pin hole to render a product worthless. 

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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