If you ever needed proof that a little adds up to be a lot, the Transportation Security Administration can provide it for you. In 2016, the agency collected $867,800 just from loose change that hurried travelers left behind in the screening process. It doesn’t seem like a handful of coins here and there would amount to much, but since TSA’s inception, it has collected over $5 million dollars in forgotten money!

TSA is able to keep all those funds thanks to a regulation that says all unclaimed goods are able to be used to support security operations. I would bet that when the bill was crafted no one guessed that their take would come anywhere near the size it does now, but each year the collection keeps growing.

For TSA, this drip by drip accumulation has added up to quite the windfall. While it is doubtful that your organization is so lucky, I’ll bet that you have some practice that is going unnoticed but is nonetheless aggregating its impact, probably in a negative direction. Have you recently checked if your auto-orders are still the best deal? Is a scheduling fluke that caused overtime continuing long after the need was present? Do you have the best financing rate or are you just using the same credit card that you’ve had for years?

Small fees, unnoticed price increases, or minor changes in terms can all add up to take funds out of your operation just as easily as the forgotten coins put funds into TSA’s. Those nickels and dimes do add up – to a lot. It’s worth your time to try and save a few of the recurring ones for your organization.

Source: Consumer Reports Consumerist newsletter, 6/20/17

Thanks, Brian!

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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