Check for snakes

One of my favorite business stories came from Ross Perot. Most of you will recall Ross from his colorful run in the 1992 American Presidential campaign.

During that campaign Ross told the story of his time with General Motors. At one time he held a majority share position with GM. The story is not about how he acquired that position but rather why he sold his shares and severed his ties with the company. At a board meeting of GM, Mr. Perot stood to address the board and told this story. He said: In my company we compared problems to snakes. Around here when ever anyone spots a snake, the first thing you do is strike a committee to determine if it is actually a snake. Then you form another committee to determine what kind of snake it might be followed by a committee to recommend what actions might be taken with this particular type of snake. While all this is going on do you know what the snake is doing? He is crawling up your pant leg and biting you in the ass! In my company when someone sees a snake do you know what we do? We kill it!!

Mr. Perot then immediately sold his shares in General Motors.

Are there any snakes crawling around your company being studied or worse yet ignored? Does your team know they have the power, ability and responsibility to kill snakes immediately?