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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Adapted - Out Of The Box Thinking

Employee "A" in a company walked up to his manager and asked what my job is 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 and bring the box back in less than an hour without using the bridge.

"A" completed this task successfully by taking a shared boat for Rs 10 and reported back to the manager about the completion of the task assigned in 55 minutes. The manager smiled and said "GOOD JOB" 

Next day Employee "B" reported to the same manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task as above to this person also.

The Employee "B' before starting the task saw Employee "C" struggling in the river to reach the other side of the bank. He realized "C" has the same task.

Now "B" hired a motoscooter for Rs 50 and crossed the river and also took "C" along.

"B" reported back to the manager that they did the job in 30 minutes and the manager smiled and said "VERY GOOD JOB" 

The following day Employee "Q" reported to the same manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task again.

• Employee "Q" before starting the work did some home work and realized "A", "B" & "C" all has done this task before. He met them and understood how they performed (time spent 2 hours).

• He realized that there is a need for Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for doing this task as there was huge time and money variations.

• He sat down and wrote down the detailed SOP for crossing the river, he documented the common mistakes people made, various means of achieving the tasks, and tricks to do the task efficiently, within budget (Rs 25) and on time (max time spent 1 hour) (time spent – 4 hours).

• Using the SOP he had written down he crossed the river and reported back to the manager along with SOP material.

• The manger said "Q" you have done an "EXCELLENT JOB". 

The following day Employee "O' reported to the manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task again.

"O" studied the SOP written down by "Q" and sat and thought about the whole task (5 minutes).

He realized company is spending a lot of money in sending the person over when they can just ask the boatman to bring the box. He decided not to cross the river, negotiated with the boatman who agreed to do the same for Rs 2, sat down and enjoyed his beer while the boatman brought his box in the assigned time. He went back to his manager and said, "You no longer need to assign this task to any one, boatman will deliver it to us for Rs 2 everyday".

The manager smiled and said "Outstanding job 'O'. I am very proud of you."

What is the difference between A, B, Q & O????????

Many a times in life we get tasks to be done at home, at office, at play.,

Most of us end up doing what is expected out of us. Do we feel happy? Most probably yes. 

We would be often disappointed when the recognition is not meeting our expectation.

Let us compare ourselves with "B". From a company point of view "B" has saved time but spent huge money on something that was not critical. While he achieved the task in 50% time of the assigned task, he was focused on the task and not on the relevance of it.

"Q" created knowledge base and more paperwork for the team. More often than not, huge procedures, timelines and methods exist without questioning the rationale. This knowledge creation for the team is of immense help but always needs to be preceded by the question WHY??? Something that we forget as we blindly follow and try and standardize a task that can be eliminated or more efficiently performed in a different manner.. 

Now to the outstanding person, "O" made the task, what it was anyway, irrelevant; he created a Permanent Asset to the organization, freeing up precious time for more useful work – saved time (full one hour eliminated) and money (only spending Rs 2) too.

If you notice B, Q and O all have demonstrated "team spirit" over and above individual performance; also they have demonstrated a very invaluable characteristic known as "INITIATIVE".

Initiative pays of every where whether at work or at personal life. If you put initiative you will succeed. Initiative is a continual process and it never ends. This is because this year's achievement is next year's task. You cannot use the same success story every year.

Out-of-Box thinkers are always premium and that is what every one constantly looks out for. Initiative, Out-of-Box thinking and commitment are the stepping stone to success.

Initiative should be lifelong. Think of out of the box

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