Posts Tagged ‘rules’

Blocking

28/April/2009

I am back. Maybe not for a long time, but I would like to share what I learn every day. And, again, my trigger was a driving experience.

I was driving along a very wide avenue. It was not new for me, but I started to note that some drivers were going not in between the lines that delimit the lanes, but exactly over the lines. What was their intention? After some blocks following their movements (with my eyes, not with the car), the behavior was obvious: they were “reserving” lanes. I mean, they were blocking the traffic from two lanes at the same time, waiting for a hole in the traffic that allows them to advance faster than the rest of the cars. And they succeeded and, really, they went faster. If this is really a method to accelerate traffic without modifying the max speeds, why not to use it broadly? Why not to erase the lines off the streets?

I am not such innocent. The answer is simple: they were faster than the rest just because they were only a few percentage of the drivers. They can go faster because almost all respect the rules and go along the lanes.

We see every day people at the enterprises that outstands over the rest of the employees. There are categories, but some of them belong to the one that break the rules and, because of that, achieve higher results, at least in some way. And they are seen almost as superheroes because of that attitudes.

If we analyze them in detail, we can spot some of the former drivers’ behaviors: they tend to “block” lanes, managing more than one matter at a time, waiting for one of them to become “high” in the top management’s mind, to fill the hole and advance faster than the rest. Probably they didn’t see it beforehand; they block the way to others so they can’t use the holes even if they saw it. But the “blockers” succeed. Is that a winning behavior?

Back to the driving example. Suppose all the street lines are erased so everybody can go wherever they want. I think that there will be a real mess and the whole traffic will become slower than before. Lot slower. The only reason to the success of the “blocking” strategy is that there is much more people that respect the rules than people that block lanes. In the enterprise example, what would happen if all of us do whatever we want, and do not follow the rules? That is, not to do our chores, our assigned tasks, just because we are doing a lot of things to block other’s lanes.

There will be always people that break the rules, people that prefer to excuse rather than asking for permission to do things. And sometimes it is a good strategy, not only for them but for the whole company; for example, when they “block” the way to someone that really prefer not to do his assigned task. But for the company, the best strategy is to have people assigned to every function that is needed, and to be the assigned person to do the assigned tasks. If everybody start to do what they want, the whole company will slow down.

Regards,

    Diego :D

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Best (or just better) place

25/September/2008

My brother’s wedding gave me the opportunity to spend a week in a city of the west coast of USA, and to drive there a lot. I can not assure that everyone drives nicely, but the overall sensation was that of a very organized traffic system and a deep respect for the rules and laws. The street lanes didn’t dissapear; the drivers use the turn lights before taking turns and the people don’t stop in the middle of the street just because or signs the soon to be action. The summum is the respect shown for the pedestrians at the ped’s crossing sites and for other drivers at the STOP signs. I have never thought of myself living in the USA, but the respect shown for the others and for the rules made me think about it.

The former observations triggered me to think about the things that made me feel “good”, and they were very similar to those I look in a job: known rules and order; respect for people, things and rights; a sense of justice, where prizes and punishment are applied when is pertinent; and freedom to leave or to stay there.

I also thought about the things I also look for in a job, but I did not observe in an explicit way during my trip, although it doesn’t mean they are not there in some way or different essence: having someone who I respect and trust blindly to get advise from; seeing that the people who make the rules act according them; and having the beautiful feeling that I am doing something that makes sense, that will have some perennial effect in the way we live.

I don’t want to diminish the importance of the economical matters as the salary and the benefits; in fact, they are a very important decision point for me to take a job. But the things I mentioned really make the difference between a workplace and a job: doing it just because the pay, or doing it proud of being part of it.

See you. Regards,

    Diego :D

The power of thanks

22/July/2008

This story is going to be very short. After being some moments stopped by the red traffic light, the queue of cars started moving. I was about tenth in the line, so I didn’t have a good view of the next corner, but it seemed most of the cars were turning left, as it was my intention. When I was near to turn, I stopped to let the walking people cross the street. Then, something weird happened: at the same time I received an insult from the car behind me and from one of the persons I was giving pass to cross the street. The first one argued that he was going to miss the green light and would have to wait, and the pedestrian because nobody before let him cross.  I can not say they pissed me off, but it was a bitter time for me.

I have talked about people that get mad because other goes by the rules, so the driver behind me, even with no right, can be understood. The one I really don’t understand is the pedestrian’s behavior.

I will try to re enact the situation from his point of view: I am a pedestrian trying to cross the street, a lot of cars turn the corner in front of me, no one let me cross until one of the follows the rules and give priority to crossing people. The driver let me cross and, instead of “thank you”, I curse him because of the other’s actions.

Everyone expects the people follow the rules and obbey the laws. Every manager expects that a task, given to the people that should do it, will be performed in time and with the right amount of quality. But that person, even if he knows that he only followed the rules, expects at least a “thank you”. And what he really doesn’t expect is that you complain to him because others in his “class” don’t react the same way.

Thank you is powerful. Use it a lot, even if the one you are thanking for just did what he should.

Regards,

    Diego :D