By Tom Sponsel, CPA/ABV, CFF
You may have heard of the
theory, but probably in connection with politics and law enforcement. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani famously employed this philosophy in the 1990s to clean up his city.
The basic idea of broken windows, which was first introduced by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in
in 1982, is that if you let the little problems slip, like broken windows, vandalism and rampant graffiti, bigger problems eventually become insurmountable. Ignoring tiny errors or mistakes invites ambivalence to much larger problems!!
Some years later author Michael Levine adapted the theory to the business world in his book,
Broken Windows, Broken Business: How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards
. His take was that if you let the little things degrade in your operation, particularly how you treat your customers, it will eventually impact the entire company.