The Picking Pile

There I sat, comfortably settled into the black cushions of the backless, overstuffed sofa in the children’s section of our spanking-new Border’s bookstore.

As usual, I was trying to accomplish two things at once--keep my promise to my youngest daughter, who wanted to look at Halloween books, and peruse a couple of baseball-coaching books I’d been eyeing, but hadn’t yet built up the courage to buy. Of course, we all know it’s impossible to do two things at once-- despite the protestations of multi-taskers everywhere--so, inevitably, I found myself with a five-year-old snuggled in close on my lap, animatedly reading book after book. At the close of each story, my daughter would drop the book in her Picking Pile and scurry off to the seasonal book display for another Halloween adventure.

Time passed, the Picking Pile grew and, eventually, I told my daughter it was time to put the books back where they belong and head home. This was my fatal flaw.

As a parent, I understood the newly created Picking Pile was her way of telling me, “I’m going to be buying a book today.” Which, of course means, “You’re going to be buying me a book today.”

Unfortunately, my wallet said otherwise. Explaining this simple fact to her was not, shall we say, simple. Then, in a stroke of genius, I did what all dads do – I passed the buck. I told her, “Honey, I don’t have enough money to buy the book, but Mom does. Why don’t you talk to her when you get home?”

Are you cringing? I should have been.

This temporary solution didn’t really solve the problem, just postponed it.

How often does the same thing happen at work? How often do we postpone solving problems, fixing broken processes or making unpleasant changes because, well, they’re unpleasant. Probably more often than we care to admit.

Maybe one solution is to create our own Picking Pile by actually taking the time to focus on our business, department by department. We’ve done that with some success here at Camp Business. We analyzed each department’s processes, made decisions on how we wanted things to run, then went out and worked to build the processes and staff in ways that would make our organization more efficient, more customer service-oriented and, in the end, just a better place to work.

The most visible sign of this new initiative is our re-vamped web site. The new site provides you easy access to our archive of stories, can be configured to deliver daily camp news to your desktop at no charge, provides searchable supplier information and makes it simple for you to renew/update your free subscription.

We’re not done with our Picking Pile, and probably never will be, but the point is we’re taking the time to systematically and regularly improve. Maybe this same process will work for you.

Till next month….

Rodney J. Auth


Bryan BuchkoComment