My wife asked me to grab a bag of taco chips from the pantry.  She had just bought fresh guacamole dip and we were going to have an appetizer before dinner.  I found the bag, ripped it open and popped one of the chips in my mouth.  It didn’t stay in my mouth very long.  It tasted disgusting.  When she walked back into the room she said:

“They’re stale.  Don’t eat those.  Something’s wrong.  I can smell it.”

I then took another whiff of the chips in the bag and realized I had smelled that scent before.  So that’s what something bad smells like.  I thought back to things that had a similar scent and taste that I continued to eat before– but now I know the smell and will check expiration dates closer.  

Usually we take a red marker and put the expiration date on the front of everything in the pantry, but we must have forgotten to do it to this one.  There it was; hiding in the pantry ready for consumption. By the way.  I really had to look closely to find the tiny little print listing the expiration date.

This same procedure of really marking when something will no longer work (or should be examined) can be used in organizations, too.  As I work with companies to do their 2017 Strategic Plans we talk about what works, what doesn’t and how we will go about replacing what doesn’t work with something better.

And smelling something bad (like the tortilla chip example I gave above) is similar to a “gut reaction” to things.  Although you don’t want to take action on things too quickly, do listen to your gut reaction.  It may be the answer to what needs to be done.

                                YOUR ACTION STEPS FOR THIS WEEK

  1. Do you have expiration dates (or examination dates) for the procedures or systems and programs you have in place at your organization?  


  1. How do you know when they no longer work and they need to be replaced?


  1. It’s the beginning of the year and a GREAT time for your team to analyze everything they use and do.  Does it need to be replaced?


  1. And once you put the change into place, don’t forget to mark an EXAMINATION DATE.  That’s the date you will come back and make sure it’s still working.  If it smells bad, replace it with something

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The Executive Coaching Experience
by Daniel P. Chiodo
As an introduction to the “Executive Coaching Experience” program, please complete this assignment to receive a complimentary session to discuss the results.