Death by a Thousand Cuts

We learned today that a service that visits our business, a blood donation bus, is to be cancelled due to government cuts.  It’s a classic example of a short term decision taken in the moment, which can have far reaching effects.  Why?

Put simply – convenience.  Bus pulls in our car park and we give permission to anyone in the business who is prepared to donate blood the abilty to do it in work time.  A total no brainer and the easiest way to engage people to give blood for the first time.  We have many people that never gave blood, but encouraged by a colleague, in they went to realise it isn’t so bad.

What now?  Well now, people will be expected to look up where there nearest donation centre is, fit that in around their busy life away from the office and make the effort to get there.  You know where that’s going to go in todays time and attention poor world.

What’s happened to the numbers?

After a lot of back slapping about the immediate cost benefits, the other major KPI (units donated) is going to go down.  Someone is going to start a project team about it, decide that they need to invest money in a donor acquisition campaign, brief an agency and spend some money leafleting or advertising to get the numbers back up.  The yellow vehicle in the picture is a blood donation bus.  Challenged by the fact that many young people weren’t donating blood, a health authority in the Scandics built this Lamborghini styled blood bus to drive around and get young people involved, so mobile is where it’s at.

It’s a classic lesson to always look at the bigger picture before making short term cuts of any sort.  We use a decision making matrix developed by Meyers Briggs to ensure we fully evaluate such decisions before execution, because you may well end up executing another one of your KPI’s unintentionally.