Sacramento might be exhaling, but the state isn’t fully in the clear. The Prop 30 sales tax hike expires in 2016, and the income tax increase in 2018. That means “the future really depends on the economy,” says Levy, the economist. California’s Extreme Budget Makeover, Bloomberg’s Businessweek, January 21, 2013.
We had just finally, for the first time in this company’s memory, installed a product upgrade at our customer’s site that wasn’t buggy and just worked the first time. The customer was clearly pleased and told us it was about time we had gotten our act together.
For more see It Should Work The First Time
Our Chief Operations Officer told me that I had to guarantee that all the future deliveries will be just like this one. I told her she couldn’t afford such a guarantee. She was not happy with my response.
This story popped to mind when I read the Businessweek article above. We do business in an economy and base plans upon assumptions about the future. We know that things change and we do a risk analysis, in advance, to be ready to deal with the changing environment.
However, too many people in business, and even politics, seem to get the notion that the environment and conditions will remain the same. We think we should be able to guarantee that things will never change or if they do change, we can do magic that ensures we are not impacted by the change.
Instead, we need to plan for change. I like the companies that expect their new revenue and growth to come from products and services that they are only now just inventing and researching (3M and HP were once known for this). I like how IBM reinvented itself from a hardware company to a service and consulting company. I like how Apple innovated itself to massive success. These companies are constantly looking for the next innovation while working to continuously improve what they are already delivering.
More on innovation: History Shows Us How To Innovate
As for any state budget, what could it be based upon other than the economy? Is there a guaranteed source of funds that will always exist regardless of how well those people we are taxing are doing? That to me is like assuming that if we start losing customers in our business, we can just increase the price to our existing customers and make up for the loss of revenue. I doubt that we would stay in business very long.
We need to work from the notion that the future will change and be prepared to handle changes. Asking for guarantees that the situation won’t change is not a formula for future success, even if someone is willing to offer or sell us such a guarantee. Working to improve everyday while simultaneously innovating for the future is the best guarantee that we’ll be successful in a changing future.
What are the assumptions or guarantees in your project and can you adapt if they don’t hold up?