Monday, June 11, 2012

Lazy Workers: A Cautionary Tale

About 10 years ago, I was performing an IT audit for a former customer. Part of our audit routine involves poking our noses into every aspect of your tech systems, including your ecommerce websites. As I was snooping around the web store setup, I happened to find thousands of unprocessed sales orders. If memory serves, there were about $50,000 in sales that were never collected!

But it's even worse than you think. You see, the credit card system was independent from their order processing system. That means all those internet orders were being processed, packaged and shipped out to customers but they never collected the money for those orders! Talk about a double-whammy!

Just between us, I love these discoveries. They are the beautiful moments when I know I won't have any trouble getting paid for my work. Whenever I can find more money for a customer than they have to pay me, it's a great day.

I took a walk over to the Accounts Receivable offices to give them the news. To my horror, nobody cared. They were busy handling the big ticket items so they never bothered to collect a few hundred dollars in sales a day. It was a hassle. Why waste time collecting $200 when they needed to process $200,000 in credit memos?

So I brought this to the attention of the rest of the accounting team, they universally shrugged their shoulders. "Not my problem." "Not my job." And all the other lines you expect from lazy people. Seeing that nobody wanted to pick up the slack, I dropped the entire problem on the CFO's desk and let him handle it.

You know who ended up picking up this slack? One of the customer support operators. Everyday, she would log in and collect the web store credit card transactions. I'm still not sure how she ended up with the job but at least someone was doing it.

Beware of lazy departments. They are usually a sign of bad morale. And bad morale is the sign of bad leadership. Does your business have this kind of department creep? How much money are you leaving on the table?

Find out. (305) 423-9574

R-Squared Computing | Lou RG | Nearly Free IT | Firm Wisdom

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