Don’t Be The First “Taper”

Most behavior patterns start with a single decision that is then never questioned or challenged.  Because it is not challenged it slowly defines your culture (This is how we do things around here) which then leads to the 7 words of any dying organization – “We have always done it that way.”

The above begs an answer to the question…Who made the first decision? Followed by…Was it INTENTIONAL?

Here is a section of a recent blog by Seth Godin that describes this process in no uncertain terms:

I’m sitting on a black couch in the lobby of a nice theater. The couch is cracked and peeling, with seven strips of black gaffer’s tape holding it together. And you don’t have to be an interior geologist to see that it has developed this patina over time, bit by bit.

The question is: Who was the first person who decided to fix the couch with tape?

The third or fifth person did a natural thing–here’s a ratty couch, let’s keep it the best we can.

But the first taper?

The first taper decided that it was okay for this theater to have a taped couch. The first taper didn’t make the effort to alert the authorities, to insist on getting the couch repaired properly.

The first taper decided, “this is good enough for now.”

This is how we find ourselves on the road to decay.

BOOM…this is an excellent example about how deferred maintenance gets started.  A “first taper” makes a conscious decision to “tape” over the problem or worse, ignore it all together.  Then the pattern of unintentional culture kicks in and deferred maintenance runs rampant. (REMINDER: Deferred Maintenance =The practice of postponing maintenance activities such as repairs on real property in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies.)

Don’t be the first “taper.” Set a culture of care, pride of ownership (not your ownership by of the person who actually owns it…God), stewardship and intentionality.



4 comments on “Don’t Be The First “Taper”

  1. I read the article, and while I get the concept, I think it implies that the fault lies with the first “taper” and assumes it was NOT taken up with “authorities” and therefor was not addressed. another scenario is: it is taken to authorities and the “taper” is instructed to “drive it till it dies”, I.E. get the most out of it you possible can or till someone or many people complain.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. I find in most churches, the first taper was simply finding a temporary solution until a permanent solution could be found. However, that temporary solution becomes permanent. When dealing with a couch, it’s fairly easy. Remove the couch until it can be repaired. It’s a little harder when dealing with drywall or carpet. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen tape over tears in the carpet and posters hung over a hole in the youth room wall because there is no funding to repair or replace it.

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