I was driving north to visit my dad last Saturday, listening to the lovely Graham Norton chatting to the even lovelier Alison Moyet about her new album.
It’s called “The Minutes” and her reason for choosing the title really struck a chord with me: “…we all feel slightly cheated when our life does not end up being this stream of joy’, she said, ‘and one thing that you do understand when you become middle aged is that it was never about that…it was always about fantastic minutes that are suspended in years…and that’s what this album is about.”
How true. It is all about the minutes.
Over the course of my life I can think back to ‘fantastic minutes’ that I failed to recognise as such at the time, but happily I’m also able to look back with real joy on ‘fantastic’ minutes that make me feel great every time I remember them. I’m sure that you are the same.
In a business context, the importance of minutes has always been clearly stated…although not always acted on.
Time is money is a phrase I grew up with, as my dad worked hard to build his business.
Lean systems, and their forerunner, the time and motion study, have always focused in on the precious minutes which can be cut from an otherwise lengthy operational process or customer service experience.
Many businesses look to create magic moments that will be remembered long after the whole experience has become a faint memory.
We remember minutes.
Planning and process will always help to make the most of these minutes in our business day…the minutes that have the potential to make more money…to save money…or to waste it. An efficient business will always look after the minutes.
But in a business that wants to grow (as in life in general) it’s the minutes that we can’t plan for that are often the most exciting…bring the greatest opportunity…and usually the most lasting joy and pleasure. These are the minutes that we often miss, because we’re looking the wrong way, maybe focusing on a month, a year, or maybe even a plan that we made that these minutes just don’t gel with.
In the short life we have, these minutes are precious.
Be ready for them…don’t miss them…because they could be best minutes of your life!
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