Creative Problem solving – Lips on the Mirror


939974270_f29aa25d9a_mSometimes we get so technical in trying to effect change in a company. Sometimes a simple small change, (those things that system thinking experts call leverage points – those small, well-focused actions that can, when used at the right time and in the right place, produce significant, lasting benefits exponentially beyond the effort required to take the action step itself), can make all the difference.

A principal of a small middle school had a problem with a few of the older girls starting to use lipstick. When applying it in the bathroom they would then press their lips to the mirror and leave lip prints.

Before it got out of hand he thought of a way to stop it. He gathered all the girls together that wore lipstick and told them he wanted to meet with them in the ladies room at 2pm.

They gathered at 2pm and found the principal and the school cleaner waiting for them. The principal explained that it was becoming a problem for the cleaner to clean the mirror every night. He said he felt the ladies did not fully understand just how much of a problem it was and he wanted them to witness just how hard it was to clean.

The cleaner then demonstrated. He took a long brush on a handle out of a box. He then dipped the brush in the nearest toilet, moved to the mirror and proceeded to remove the lipstick.

That was the last day the girls pressed their lips on the mirror.

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