Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze?

A Critical Doer capitalizes on opportunities to be better


“Is the juice worth the squeeze?”  This is a common expression people will use in evaluating whether the benefit to be gained from a particular endeavor is worth the effort required to achieve it?  Like many things in life, the same question can have different answers based upon when you ask it.

Sometimes in a business you are trying to reach out to new customers and markets that could be huge breakthroughs in market penetration and financial reward.  Taking risk with a significant level of effort and marginal benefit…today…but could be game changing later…may very well be worth the effort.

On the other hand, a significant level of effort to achieve some level of cost saving may be viewed differently.  If analysis shows the cost saving is modest and the effort to get there is a distraction that causes a decrease in production or quality, the gain may not be worth what it takes to get there.

In general, here are a couple of broad guidelines in answering whether the juice is worth the squeeze.  If your intent is to gain entry into a new market or gain a new customer, you should consider undertaking efforts with a less well-defined prospect of immediate payback.  It can take time and multiple efforts to woo a customer away from an established relationship, but depending upon the volume of business it may be worth the risk of delayed payback.

When the problem you are trying to solve is internal…cost control for example…you should consider a more conservative approach.  I’ve been in organizations where the people were pressed to produce cost savings at…you guessed it…extraordinary cost.  In real terms, it cost us to save…and the intangible cost of turbulence in the organization only confounded the situation.

Your challenge is to look at situations in your organization where it’s appropriate to ask whether the juice is worth the squeeze.  Wider latitude may be warranted to solve an external problem like new customers or markets.  Narrower latitude may be the right approach for internal dynamics given the real cost of the solution and the intangible cost to your people in getting there.  These types of questions and calculations are how organizations capitalize on opportunities to be better.  It’s also what a Critical Doer would…do!


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Updated: May 21, 2015 — 10:08 am