Priming the pump of efficiency

There's always a gap between the short-term results of a well-polished system and the first results of a switch to a more efficient one.

If you stick with that thing you've worked so hard to perfect, the next few hours or weeks or months will surely outperform the results you'll get from the new thing. That's because there are switching costs, glitches and a learning curve.

When you rearrange the shop floor, switch to email, convert your interactions to a new platform or make a building more energy efficient, this always happens. That means if you have a short-term perspective, you're never going to switch.

Switching your ad campaign to digital? You'll take a hit. Better stick to what you know.

Switching from a central city cube farm to a distributed at-home workforce? That will cost you big time next quarter. Probably not worth it.

Switching from a phone reservations system to Open Table? No way it will pay off this month.

The end result is that organizations that choose to switch are usually the ones with the least to lose. The upstarts and the outliers. One reason they're always leapfrogging the market leaders.

One way to stay innovative is to understand that this gap exists and to budget for it. Denying it won't make it go away.