When $9.63 is Too Much Money


By Neal Glatt

On a recent road trip, I stopped in at a gas station—more or less in the middle of nowhere—near the border of South Carolina and Georgia.  As I was in line to check out, the man in front of me became very excited and started yelling at the cashier. He turned around to involve me as a neutral third-party on their argument (side note: Do I have a trusting face or something?  I didn’t care to mediate). “How much should a quart of oil cost?” he demanded. “I guess five or six dollars…,” I offered. The man immediately jumped in with, “Can you believe this guy is trying to charge $9.63 for a quart of oil?! This is crazy!” and proceeded to put the oil back on the shelf before storming out of the store.

I was left puzzled by this decision.  Here is a man who clearly knows he has a problem.  Nobody tries to buy a quart of oil at a gas station in the middle of nowhere unless they know they have a problem.  And yet, because the cost was more than he expected, he decided to take a risk on his vehicle with low oil. Now, I’m no expert on the supply and demand of motor oil.  But I do know that the cost of not buying that quart of oil is probably much more expensive than $9.63. Add up the expenses of a tow truck, engine repair, possibly even a new car – it’s not cheap and certainly not as convenient as adding a quart of oil.  “It’s probably cheaper at Wal-Mart if he wants to find one,” the cashier told me after the man left. “It’s definitely cheaper to fix the problem now,” I replied.

I see business owners make the same mistake over and over again.  They are aware of a problem and don’t want to address it head on. Maybe a problem employee who needs training or coaching, perhaps a problem process that needs to be investigated and improved, or a problem customer who needs to be let go.  But instead of fixing it, they let the problem fester because it seems too expensive in terms of budget, time, or effort. Great leaders know three truths about pursuing their dreams of success: it will always cost more than you expect, it will always take longer than you expect, and it will always be more difficult than you expect.  But they also know that it’s worth it to have a chance at something significant. What cost are you foolishly avoiding that may be stalling your dream? If the answer involves education of you and your workforce, GrowTheBench is here to help. We’ve worked to make education as affordable as possible to help you, so check out our all-access pass and start learning today.

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