Duct Tape, the silver metallic adhesive tape used in WW II to seal ammunition cases on the fly, is used worldwide as a temporary solution to a problem, and we’ve all needed it at some point to patch a leak in plumbing or tape a broken window.
Many people in business have similar “Band-Aid solutions” that work well at first, but when what I call the “Duct Tape solution” becomes the permanent fix, that’s where businesses run into trouble.
Business of all sizes often find themselves in a Catch-22 situation where they need the equipment and tools to attract clients but don’t yet have the funding in place, so they’ll employ the Duct Tape Solution to get through a tough patch. For example, they’ll use free trials to expensive software and not renew when they run out, or maybe in the rush to check off the lists, they’ll cold call without much strategy, or create slapdash content just to launch a website.
Established companies in a fast-growth pattern will also rip off a hunk of metaphorical duct tape to get through a crunch as well, such as updating only the prominent sections of their websites when they need a complete redesign, buying a contact list instead of organically growing one, or selling more than the company can actually provide.
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve needed to provide a creative solution to solve for an immediate problem or throw an idea together at the last minute when under the gun. However, none of this is sustainable.
Interim solutions that solve for an internal “fake it ‘til you make it” strategy will soon become an external indicator to your customers that something is not working if you don’t consciously take care to go back and take corrective action. Eventually the duct tape is going to loosen, and everyone is going to see the cracks!
The important thing as a business leader is to do what you need to do in order to keep things running effectively and provide stretch goals for your organization, but always remember to go back to where you placed the duct tape and implement a permanent solution. It all comes back to setting time-focused goals. Without them, you are entering a dangerous arrangement of viability and sustainability all wrapped up in the proverbial house of cards—a dangerous tight rope to walk!
Now that the website is launched? Implement a plan to update with quality content every month.
You got through with the first round of cold calls? Now, come up a 5-point proposal to achieve a specific outcome beyond the first opening sentences.
Bottom line: Keep The Duct Tape Solution for emergencies and never stop improving.