Today's parable is “Poop in the Toilet.” Which leads us to the principle of inspect what you expect.

I've been travelling for the past 3 weeks, and while I was gone, the lever and handle on the toilet in the kids' bathroom broke.

The kids had to manually flush the toilet by reaching into the tank and lifting up the rubber flapper.

This turns unpleasant quickly when you have 6 children who need to use the facilities – which apparently is all the time.

So when I returned on Saturday, I dropped by Home Depot to pick up the necessary parts. When I arrived home I discovered the lever I bought at the store didn't fit, so back to the store I go.

Finally I'm home with the proper part in hand.

I fix the toilet and it appears to be flushing marvelously.

Then, this morning during breakfast one of my four daughters informs me that there is, “poop in the toilet.”

We begin an inquiry to discover who the guilty party is that didn't flush the toilet, and another daughter informs me that the toilet doesn't flush.

What the … ?

I go check it out, and sure enough she's right. The way I installed the lever didn't allow the lever to pull the rubber flapper high enough to get a full flush.

I'm sitting there staring at a bunch of brown mush in the toilet.

Thirty minutes and a lot of frustration later I have the parts reassembled and the toilet is flushing marvelously.

Here's our principle for today – inspect what you expect.

When you delegate or assign a task in your business to someone else, don't neglect the follow up.

I get it, no one wants to feel like a micro-manager. However, not inspecting what you expect is a recipe for chaos and disaster.

I experienced this with my team a few months ago. I trained one of my team members on a key task.

We spent substantial time together going over how to conduct this important role.

A few months later I noticed that the results this person was delivering weren't what I expected.

I decided to inspect.

What I found shocked me. This person had completely thrown the process that we had trained on out the window.

This was an important lesson for me to not ignore key aspects of my business. Because when we assume something is running on autopilot, we forget that people are humans.

A business is an organic system. and without oversight and the addition of energy to the system, entropy sets in.

Entropy is the physical law that says that any organized system will descend into chaos without the addition of energy outside the system.

What I would have you consider is this – where in your firm are you not getting the results you expect because you aren't inspecting?

And what do you need to do to inspect?

Because if you don't inspect, you'll end up with poop in the toilet. And no one wants that.

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Enoch Bartlett Sears is the founder of the Architect Business Institute, Business of Architecture and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He helps architects become category leaders in their market. Enoch hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.

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