In my years of employment, I have had the joy of working with some truly talented people. One of them was a guy named Rick. Rick was a guy who one could tell was ambitious and it did not take him long to be noticed.
After a few management types left, we had to begin the process of seeking out some new blood. Rick interviewed for a position as a Unit Supervisor and he nailed the interview as well. We sat down and began to work out where the newbies would be sent to.
In our park, the coveted high-profile areas were the rides and one of the show stadiums. The leaders who were a bit shaky were sent to the smaller units such as the rock climbing wall or Paddle Boats.
During the meeting, an interesting twist came up. Why not send Rick to the Paddle Boats? Rick was very new and seemed to be on a course for glory. Should he be given everything on a silver tray?
When we told Rick he was being promoted; he was ecstatic. When he was told he was going to Paddle Boats; he seemed confused. Later he approached me and asked me why he was going to this unit. I told him that it might not seem this way but this was his big chance to wow us all. Still confused, Rick trudged off.
Taking the Duck by the Bill!
Paddle Boats was a mindless operation. One just loaded the guests onto the boat and then sent them off peddling for as long as they could endure. Every management type who was stuck at this spot saw it this way. They are only paddle boats you know!
One day Rick scheduled a meeting with us and he brought out a proposal. In it was a redesigned dock and a hydraulic loading system that would save wear and tear on the employees and the boats, and save time. It was so great that the senior management pushed it through to be a capital project. Voila! A new age of Paddle Boat glory was heralded in!
Do You Work on Your Job or in Your Job?
We set out to give this kid a lesson and he gave us one as well. The world is a changing place and even the seemingly mundane can be spruced up, tweaked, or improved.
How does this relate to management?
Many managers are working in their jobs. If you are just signing forms, going to the same old Thursday meeting, and not creating; then are you really working on your job? Just about anyone with some management experience can sign some forms and follow a budget. Constantly working on your job will make you the leader who stands out over the others.
There is one pitfall to avoid in all of this and we probably have seen this one to many times. That is changing something just for the sake of change.
My Director once brought us to a meeting and told us that he was changing up the structure of the operation and that we would all be moving around. The problem was that several years before, this same idea was implemented and it failed miserably. We brought this to the Director’s attention and he insisted on moving forward.
Two months later, we went back to the old system. Why? Due to the same problems from before.
Change needs to thought out and justifiable. If it fits into what the company is trying to achieve; then give it a try!
The Ducks and Rick
Rick was later moved to the highest profile area in the park and later moved on to a role in our parent company. The Ricks of the world see opportunities when others can only see the mundane.