Employee ‘A’ walked up to his manager and asked about the job for the day? The manager took ‘A ‘ to the bank of a river and asked him to cross the river and reach the other side of the bank. ‘A’ completed this task successfully and reported back to the manager. The manager smiled and said “Good job”.
Next day he assigned same task to ‘B’. Before starting the task he saw employee ‘C’ struggling in the river to reach the bank now ‘B ‘ not only crossed the river but also helped ‘C’ to cross the river. The manager smiled and said “Very Good job”.
The following day he assigned same Job to ‘Q’. Before starting the work ‘Q’ did some homework; he met ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and understood how they performed. He realized that there is a need for a guide and training for doing this task he sat first and wrote down the procedure for crossing the river, he documented the common mistake people made, and tricks to do the task efficiently and effortlessly. Using the methodology he had written down, he crossed the river and reported back to the manager along with documented procedure and training material. The manager said you have done an “Excellent Job”.
The following day manager assigned same job to ‘O’. ‘O’ studied the procedure written down by ‘Q’, sat and thought about the whole task he realized company is spending lot of money in getting this task completed. He decided not to cross the river, but sat and designed and implemented an economical bailey bridge across the river and went back to his manager and said, “You no longer need to assign this task to any one”. The manager said, “Outstanding job. I am very proud of you”.
Let us examine each one – little more closely -
B, helped someone else also. There is an old proverb “Learn to teach and teach to learn”.
Q, created knowledge base for the team. Learning from others mistake is the best way to improve efficiency. This knowledge creation for the team is of immense help. Re-usability reduces cost – there by increases productivity of the team.
O, made the task irrelevant; he created a permanent asset to the team. If you notice ‘B’,’Q’, and ’O’ all have demonstrated an invaluable characteristic known as “initiative”.
Initiative pays off everywhere – Rewards are not for the routine work we do – but for the initiatives we take for continuous improvements!