Job Improvement How but WhyAuthor: Catherine Pulsifer
Always question the "why"; don't be satisfied with only knowing the "how".
Don't just learn the how in your job, also learn the why.
By understanding the "why", you are able to constructively evaluate the job. Too often, people only learn "how" to do the job. When asked "why" they are doing a job a certain way, their response is, "This is the way we have always done it". But, why, you ask, are you doing it this way? They have no idea.
To know "how" to do something without understanding the "why", is like being illiterate. You can flip the pages of a book, but the words won't have any meaning.
Not that many years ago, I had the assignment of leading a large group of workers. In this group, there were many people who had been in the same job for many years and some who had recently joined several months before I was given the assignment. Much to my dismay, the staff that had been doing the same job for years never questioned why they were doing it and certainly never suggested that the job tasks they were given could be done more efficiently or effectively. The newer staff members were being taught the same old way of performing assigned tasks that had been done the same way for years.
One of the first things on my list to do was, therefore, to create an environment where staff were encouraged to make suggestions for work change be that work flow or even as basic as why a certain aspect of their job was done in a certain way. I was really looking for staff to examine their job role with a fine toothcomb but this did not come naturally because of previous leaders who just maintained the status quo and where there was no encouragement to question anything. In other words, do as you are taught and keep working.
I initiated weekly meetings for all those who directly reported to me, and also encouraged them to meet weekly with those staff members who reported to them. The whole idea here was to open up a dialogue where staff was encouraged to question and where no idea or suggestion was criticized or simply dismissed. It was not easy at first to get any input but the more this behavior was encouraged, the more people started to speak up. A slow process it was but it was a process that paid big dividends in the long run.
The best part of initiating this kind of open dialogue was that almost everyone developed a new sense of confidence not only in the acceptance of many of their suggestions, but in the sense of pride.
Don't just accept the "how".
Question and understand the "why"! By knowing the "why", it's more than possible you may be able to suggest improvements which, in turn, can make your job more enjoyable and more productive.
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