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Leadership Lessons – An Ounce of Prevention

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Sometime in December, my daughter-in-law, Sarah, came home and found that my son, Andy, 39, was having minor chest pains. She took him to the hospital right away to make sure it wasn’t anything they needed to be concerned about. The emergency room doctors didn’t find anything, but said they should follow-up with their family physician.

They did. A test followed with the recommendation for a much more in-depth stress test at Cleveland Clinic (the number one heart hospital in America). Since Andy and Sarah live close to Cleveland, it wasn’t an issue. On January 12th, they went to the clinic for a quick test . . . thinking that if it was anything serious, a stent could be inserted (which is now outpatient surgery), and they’d be on their way.

What happened next is a blur. After the test, a doctor came out and told Sarah that Andy was being admitted and would undergo an eight-hour open heart surgery the next morning. The widow maker artery was 99-percent blocked in two places and double bypass surgery was necessary. He was lucky Sarah followed-up when he first complained.

Soon after Mary Kay and I got home from visiting Andy, Sarah and our two grandsons, who are 3 and 5, Mary Kay insisted I go in for a stress test. I was already older than my dad and brother were when they died of heart attacks and this was more than fresh on her mind.

Last Monday, I went to the hospital for a thorough stress test—the kind on the treadmill and using nuclear medicine. We got the call from our doctor on Tuesday that all was normal but it got me thinking of Ben Franklin’s statement. This was definitely an ounce of prevention! Mary Kay gets it!

Then I thought of the ounces of prevention we need to take in our business:

  • Checking that we have the right piece of glass before we leave the office for an install
  • Making sure that you return glass immediately for credit if you accidently ordered the wrong windshield
  • Conducting background checks on techs before you hire them
  • Making sure someone is responsible for changing the oil at regular intervals on the vans
  • Doing the same thing with tires
  • Installing GPS in the trucks to make sure the vans aren’t being used inappropriately at night (if you allow your techs to take them home)
  • Monitoring fuel usage with a service that makes your tech record the mileage at every fill up
  • Performing customer surveys

And the list goes on. These are ounces of prevention that successful leaders and successful business people employ to run their companies. What I’ve found over the years is that if your employees object to doing things like this, they are likely employees you don’t want working for you!

An ounce of prevention—I’m glad Sarah did it; I’m glad Mary Kay did it; and I’m always glad when I hear of successful leaders implementing this in their business, too.

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