Here’s a proposition for you: Every business, government or institution has a degree of inefficiency built into its operating model. As time passes, the level of inefficiency rises and productivity drops.

Now, let’s say you push back and say that a culture of change — dare I say, revolution — was built into an organization’s DNA. That would lay the grounds for innovation and increased productivity. Sounds plausible, I’d say. But here’s the thing: it’s unlikely to occur. Most establishments eventually have their purpose — their ‘Why’ as Simon Sinek likes to say — bred out of them, to be replaced by policies and procedures.

These of course are put in place by well-meaning folks who want to keep things running smoothly, aka, to prevent the very change that is the lifeblood of innovation.

Let’s examine this from another angle.

What if we could look at the price of any given product or service, and break it down into what the work is actually worth? See the real cost of all those meetings, mistakes, misunderstandings, emergencies, budgets, competing interests, bureaucracies and, oh yes, more meetings to remedy all of the above.

We could call the resulting ratio the inefficiency quotient.

Neat idea, right? Yes, it is, which is why it would be tossed into the “unworkable” bucket. Businesses, governments and institutions guard their inefficiencies jealously.

So let’s look just at ourselves.

Imagine if we could begin our work free of inefficiencies. Imagine they’ve been dealt with. Taken care of. Dispatched. Let’s say we’re starting a project with clear parameters and fully confirmed specifications. How much faster, easier and better constructed – not to mention pleasing — would our product or service be?

You tell me.

What if we could leave behind not just outdated models but the crisis management of dealing with emergencies, real or imagined?

What if we could predict with certainty what things will really cost and when they can be completed or delivered? How much value would that add to whatever product or service is on offer?

Wouldn’t that give us a head start? Wouldn’t we be way on down the road, humming along with renewed energy and a fresh approach that, oh, by the way, ups productivity and decreases inefficiency? What if we could offer more value for the money our clients are willing to spend at the same time that we’re reducing costs to provide that better outcome?

We could start by asking better questions. Or holding better meetings. Meetings that are driven by purpose and intent.

We are the consumers, the voters, the taxpayers — presumably, we have the power. It’s no good if we don’t use it. No one benefits if we merely settle.

Why not start demanding better-built products and services from our businesses, governments and institutions? We could begin by targeting those areas in our lives where prices just keep rising while quality and quantity continue to plummet.

And what can we do closer to home?

Next time you find yourself part of a new venture, why not set out purposely, make it a goal to avoid the old clichés? Enough with the bad meetings, mistakes, misunderstandings, emergencies, budgets, competing interests, bureaucracies … and more bad meetings.

Life is short. If you care enough to build something, build it with intent.