January 20, 2009

More reasons to not avoid the yuck…

Number 33 in The Boss Benchmark is ‘Never Avoid The Yuck’ which means don’t ignore issues because you’d rather pretend they don’t exist. Brutal honesty makes room for improvement and big transformation. Focusing only on the positive means you’ll never become exceptional. I read somewhere recently that Wal-Mart does a ‘stupidest thing we do around here’ competition. Staff get to ponder and point out things that are ridiculous and hindering them in their work. By digging up these ‘stupid things’ and putting new systems in place, the workplace can become more efficient and less annoying and frustrating to the people that have to do these stupid things! It is said that ‘geniuses subtract, fools use addition’ which means that any fool can make something more complex but it takes a genius to simplify something. Remember that in your business systems. If you are silly enough to believe that your staff don’t know enough/aren’t involved enough in some systems to be able to critique them remember that….

A sculptor invented the ballpoint pen
A musician invented kodachrome films
An undertaker invented the automatic telephone
A journalist came up with the idea for parking metres
A vet invented the pneumatic tyre
A TV engineer invented the long playing record

Little knowledge about something is a positive when it comes to change –not a negative. If you get some crazy ideas from staff…just remember that the postage stamp got laughed at! It was described as “a piece of paper just large enough to bear the stamp, with a glutinous wash on the back with a little moisture it will attach to a letter” (from the original proposal from Rowland Hill inventor of the postage stamp) apparently his boss wasn’t impressed at all. We could all actually learn something else from the postage stamp: “Consider the postage stamp … it secures success through its ability to stick to one thing till it gets there” said Josh Billings 19th century American humourist.

Do you fancy doing a ‘stupidest thing we do around here’ competition at your work?

1 comment:

Kellie J. said...

Hi, I like your article -- I think there is a lot of truth to it. I'm wondering about the origin of the supposed adage that 'geniuses subtract, fools use addition.’ A cursory web search didn't turn up any references to an originating quote and it didn't appear to be a common saying when I searched it as worded. Is the maxim usually phrased differently?