When Vince Lombardi took over the until-then losing Green Bay Packers football team, he was asked what he was going to change. The players, the strategy, the plays, or the training? Lombardi replied that he wouldn’t change any of these but would instead concentrate on being “brilliant on the basics.” His response came to mind when I recently went to a local restaurant with a colleague. The outside temperature was  a pleasant 82 degrees but the temperature inside the restaurant was downright freezing and uncomfortable-we ended up sitting outside. This brought up something discussed in Chapter 5 of “Breaking Failure” under  the heading “The Shiny Object Compulsion.”

The Shiny Object Compulsion is one in which are always looking for a game changer using something new (and usually unproven): be it a new software, management technique or product that will make us widely successful. usually the ROI is disappointing yet we forget and wait for the next shiny object. The reality is–as Lombardi realized–that you can achieve  an easier and faster ROI by just checking on your key drivers, basics and executing flawlessly. In the case of the restaurant,  simple observational research would reveal that people are uncomfortable, covering up, lowering their short sleeves, leaving earlier, and trying to find a seat outside.

Not convinced? What if you did a test, and changed the temperature setting. Would the amount of alcohol consumed increase? would people tend to stay longer and thus perhaps get that additional second drink? would repeat business increase?

So potentially, not only could you improve the consumption rate of drinks and repeat business by increasing the temperature to a more comfortable level but also save a not insignificant amount of money on your electric bill. The sad thing is that if you told the manager or owner he would apologize and go back to business as usual. Most people tend not to say anything so one  might be dismissed as a picky customer–and perhaps the temperature in the kitchen or back rooms might not feel that cold… In any case, the result is a lost opportunity using a simple and zero-cost effort.