Recently, I read an article about the true cost to produce U.S. pennies as the author asked, “Why do we have them, and are they worth the cost?”
I learned that, in 2017, the cost to make one penny was 1.82 cents. That means the U.S. Mint lost a staggering $69 million producing pennies that year!
Now, if I said, “Here’s a $100 worth of brand-new shiny pennies and I’d like you to give me $182 for them,” would you do it?
No. Because their value remains at $100.
As a responsible leader of your business or business unit, what is your “penny”?
Explore your area of responsibility for the items that cost you more than they’re worth or that anyone would pay for—the “pennies” of your business.
Your search doesn’t have to be only products or services. For example, what about the value of your last meeting? Hosting seven to ten people for 60 minutes can be expensive and its results can be either highly productive or a big fat waste of time.
What did that meeting actually cost and was it worth it? Or was it a meeting of “pennies”?
To look for “pennies” in your organization, question all time-related and productivity-related items, paying particular attention to overhead costs (i.e., people).
Also, don’t underestimate reactive versus proactive decisions. Being reactive in your decision making—or taking no action at all—could cost your organization a “pretty penny.”
Leadership involves fiscal responsibility. That’s why I reinforce the concept that you can’t (or shouldn’t) sell something for one penny that costs you almost double that amount to make.