Thursday, 2 April 2009

That's What I Said

One of the most important facets of my professional life was managing change.

As well as having overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of all site operations I was also accountable for improving efficiency in all areas.

Even though I did not really enjoy my job that was probably my most favourite part.

Saving money from your overhead yields a direct increase in the amount of profit the company makes.

Simple stuff.

I used to enjoy lecturing salesmen who had brought all their ‘profit’ to the business, regularly waxing lyrical on sales not automatically producing profit. And that some sales, were not sales at all.

“I’ve sold 200 of xyz at 35% profit,” The nitwits would often say.

“We’ve still got 800 pieces of xyz in stock that cost £££ and continue to cost £££ you’ve made nothing but a mess yet clever clogs.” I would reply.

I was adorable.

In order to become more efficient, as well as constantly looking at ways to reduce our fixed costs, I would also be looking for better ways of doing things.

Dreaming and designing new systems is one thing, but implementation, and getting acceptance and efficient operation of these new arrangements is really where the trouble would start.

I have seen a lot of brilliant ideas turned to crap, just based on the fact that staff resisted them and ultimately contributed to their failure wilfully.

I was never one to get too deep into understanding the mechanics of the psychology around change, I leave that stuff to clever folks like Kurt Lewin, but I did understand, and see in action, his three-stage process.

Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze.

Getting people, or numbers as I liked to affectionately call them, to buy into any project and believe in its ideals was absolutely key.

I always knew when I had successfully completed the process, perversely when I would slag off, or criticise, the changes we had just made.

If the staff agreed with me, I had failed.

If the staff quoted back to me, ideally without realising, stuff I had BRAIN WASHED enlightened them with, earlier in the process, it meant I had succeeded.

I used to get a wicked satisfaction by calling bluffs like that.

I would make a good, well not good, that is the wrong word, perhaps great, yeah, great evil genius.

Life is forever changing and evolving, and I would not say I am someone who actively seeks change, but feel I would come out at a higher percentile of those able to deal with it.

Parenting is just like that, and children accepting change and then getting on board with it and quoting you back is also an ongoing process, it certainly is for us.

There is much more cuteness about children, and they way that they tell you things you already know, or have been trying to instil into them since their very creation.

Like tonight, we went to the chip shop for tea, our guilty pleasure, and I was educated on our journey home by the fruit of my loins.

He was checking that we had ordered and got all we had asked for, or more specifically, checking that we had got all he had asked for.

Sausage, chips and mushy peas was his balanced request.

I said we had got all that, but that the chips we had were for me.

“No Daddy,” Max claimed.

“They’re for both of us, It’s called SHARING.”

Is it indeed?

And the glow I got from that one tiny moment in our father-son relationship, eclipses any and all of the moments similar from my professional carer. Share/Save/Bookmark


SciFi Dad said...

Isn't it amazing when you realize that you're not wasting your time teaching them stuff?

(Oh your work story, I TOTALLY get where you're coming from. I work in automation, so basically my "job" is to change other people's jobs by inserting a computer into the process. I could tell you stories... like the time I got so pissed at some operators for not listening to me that I actually wrote a procedure that included "and if the alarm has been present for more than 30 minutes and you have not yet initiated shutdown, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye".)

The Dotterel said...

... what was it you were saying about brainwashing!!!

Bee and Rose said... he is just as diabolical as you are!!! Brilliant!!!!

Penelope said...

Ha! Trying to get some of the guys in my office to engage with my new processes is a lot like dealing with 5 year olds but not quite so rewarding ;o)

clairesmom said...

Yuck... Work. :)

Karen said...

Awww, thats awesome. Brainwashing yeah?

Kevin Spencer said...

Bloody hell I wish I could go to a decent chip shop for my tea. Lucky buggers across the pond the lot of you.

Maternal Tales said...

He eats mushy peas? You've done a good job there...

T said...

Evil genius... yep, you've got me convinced of that.

And aw! It is amazing when they catch on, isn't it?

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I'd take hearing my kids listened and absorbed what I said any day. I'm still waiting ;)

Chairman Bill said...

But surely if you've still got 800 pieces of xyz in stock that cost £££ and continue to cost £££, then that's not the salesman's fault - it's the marketing function not forecasting demand correctly. Or possibly stock keeping over-ordering.

Single Parent Dad said...

SciFi Dad - It is. (And I like your procedure write up)

The Dotterel - Look into my eyes, not around my eyes, look into my eyes.

Bee and Rose - Yes, he gets all my best bits.

Penelope - I understand.

Clairesmom - How true.

Karen - You gotta.

Kevin Spencer - Don't they have reasonable imitations state side?

Maternal Tales - Well, he asks for them. And eats a few.

T - Thank you, and it is.

Blogging Mama Andrea - He doesn't absorb everything, and it was only because it was in his best interests.

Chairman Bill - I probably didn't explain myself well enough. Sales men would take an order for 1000, to offer a better price, and then sell 200. That's not sales.

Kat said...

I have found the best way to implement change is to keep a sense of humor and listen to worker complaints (both in the work place and at home). Being a military family change is part of life. I have learned that when we make change one of the best ways to deal with the change is to listen to my kids voice their concerns and directly deal with each one individually. That way they know that they are being heard and not pushed to the side in a time of upheaval of the household.

Snickollet said...

Wonderful story. Kids understand all kinds of concepts when said concepts work in their favor!

Wish I could go to a chip shop for tea . . .

Gretch said...

i find sometimes it helps you to hear it when it comes from a tiny voice -- you are forced to pay attention :)

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

I LOVE those moments. My daughter spews so much back at me that I tell her that sometimes it gets to be a little much. Like when I say "dammitt!" and she says "mommy, that's not a nice word. we don't say that word."


Liz@Violet Posy said...

Eventually they get it, it just takes a while sometimes :)

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