What my 9-year old taught me about managing accounts receivable.
When my oldest daughter turned nine years old, my wife suggested that we start giving her some pocket money every week. $1.00. From that point forward, my duty was to have the correct money (coins or a note) available when I got home on a Friday evening as plans had been made for that one dollar and commitments given.
My daughter was an expert at managing accounts receivable. She trained me (over a period of just one month) to have that dollar ready by applying this simple formula:
Friday + no money (correct change)= heaps of trouble for Dad.
If the dollar wasn’t ready on Friday, a conversation like this would follow:
“I’m sorry dear I haven’t got the right change”
“I didn’t go to the bank yesterday.”
“But Dad, you know it’s pocket money every Friday. When can I have it?”
“Ask your Mother.”
“But she only sends me back to you. Have you got any change in your wallet?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Where is it – I’ll look for you.”
… and so it continued.
I knew that I’d been trained when I drove into my driveway at home one Friday night and realised that I didn’t have a one dollar coin in my pocket! (I could also see the silhouette of a small person behind our glass front door.) I immediately reversed out of the driveway, drove down to the local shop, bought a litre of milk (that I didn’t really want or need) to get the correct money and returned home victorious to proudly give my daughter her pocket money.
That’s all it took. It had now become a habit for me to have the pocket money ready for her each week. The debtor (me) had to keep giving excuses and it became very obvious, very quickly who was in the wrong and she eventually trained her debtor (me) to pay on time before I was free to get away and do anything else. And she was only nine years old. She was simply applying the third rule – Become Very Hard To Ignore.