My friend changed my life – with shoelaces!

If you ever wear shoes with laces then I’m guessing that, like me, you learned how to tie them at a very young age.  I certainly remember putting one foot on the bottom stair and practising as Mum showed me what to do (cross them over and under, then form a loop etc!).


So, like most of us, I’ve tied them the same way ever since, without even thinking about it.  From time to time I notice that my laces have come undone – annoying when that happens isn’t it – usually when I’m in a hurry or it’s raining.  So what do I do?  Well I tie them again, just the same way that I did before.  (Some laces are particularly slippery I find, and come undone more often, and especially at the wrong time).

Then one day my friend Andre remarked in passing that it’s interesting how much difference it makes whether we tie our laces properly (like a reef knot) or poorly (like a granny knot – sorry granny).  So a properly tied lace (right over left, left over right, just as in a reef knot) stays tied securely for much longer.  (Goodness knows why an architect was thinking about shoelaces, but that’s Andre!)  I checked my own ‘shoelace-tying technique’ and you can guess what I found!

Huh?  As a sailor I know about knots.  I can tie a reef knot in a storm on a dark night with my eyes closed (often the best way to be on a dark and stormy night at sea anyway) and still be certain that I’ve done it right.  So how can it possibly be that I’ve spent my whole life since I was three tying my laces the ‘wrong way’?

All of that got me thinking; it’s just a habit, right?  I’ve just ‘always done it that way’.  So I started wondering how many businesses locally, or in the UK, or in the world, have habits, things they’ve ‘always done that way’ where really, with a bit of digging, we can find a better way.  A faster, cheaper, more efficient and more profitable way – with less cash tied up. Most of us I guess, obviously including me!

So, if you run a business locally and feel you’d like a little help with the shoelaces, please give me a call on 01672 512001.  We’ll talk about your shoelaces over a coffee.  I can’t help all the world’s businesses but – if you’re local, I can help you.

By the way, in case you’re wondering – yes I have succeeded in relearning how to tie my shoelaces!  It takes a while, and consistent repetition, but after a few weeks I rarely have to think about it.

About Nigel Scott