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May 12

Drop Inefficiency

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

You may have seen the recent news reports about how British schools were dropping analog clocks.  They are replacing the clocks with those big and little hands with digital clocks because most students can't tell time the old way. Initially I was disgusted thinking about it.  “Good grief,” I thought, “is it true that kids can't read a clock face anymore?”  I wondered if the next step was to change Big Ben in England.

Then I wondered how important was it for somebody to know the time by reading the hands of clock?  Does it really matter whether they read the clock by hands or simply numbers? No. People don't need to keep time my way; they just need to keep time.


My father was a CPA.  He was a master at using the old slide rule to make calculations. At one time I learned to use a slide rule, but quickly and joyfully migrated to the handheld calculator. It was a vast improvement.

Many of you know the story of the Pony Express whose letter carriers rode horses quickly across America to deliver letters and communications. This was very expensive.  Unfortunately for the investors and the Pony Express, the less costly and more efficient telegraph quickly replaced the ponies. Now mail moves quickly by truck and aircraft. Does anybody really want to go back to the days when mail traveled by mule train?

Music delivery is another example of change.  I am old enough to remember the plastic records and expensive hi-fi systems that took up as much room in your living room as a chair. Today on a very small device I have access to higher quality sound for less money with a much easier delivery system than my parents could have dreamed of. If I want to get a new song, all it takes is a couple of clicks and the music is on my device ready for listening.

These are only a few of the thousands of examples of new and better ways of doing business. We simply cannot afford to hold onto inefficiency. Like the school clocks in England, does it really matter what type of clock is installed in the classroom? The important lesson is to teach students to be on time, to be disciplined and to use a clock to order their day. The type of clock really makes no difference. Today we have Apple watches which are more like a small computer.  What could be next?

King Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV) He also wrote, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10, RSV) While I use an old watch that ticks away, I don’t really care what kind of clock someone I work with uses. However, I do care if they are on time.  Whatever it takes, drop inefficiency.  Use time wisely.

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