With productivity falling below their goals, the board of the ABC Widget Company decided to hire a consultant to investigate potential avenues for improvement. The consultant set out right away to tour the plant.
Soon after entering the shipping area he noticed a man standing next to one of the pillars holding up the roof. After introducing himself, the consultant asked the man what his job was.
“I am supposed to stand by this pillar,” the employee said
Curious, the consultant asked why he was supposed to stand there.
“I don’t know. My boss told me to stand by the pillar so that is what I do.”
Thanking the man, the consultant continued on his tour. When he got to the production line he noticed a man standing next to another pillar.
“Good afternoon,” the consultant said before explaining who he was.
“May I ask you what you do here?”
The man by the pillar said, “This is my job. I am supposed to stand by this pillar all day. I’ve been doing it for five years.”
The following month the consultant presented his findings as the board reconvened. A discussion of the board members ensued and soon a decision was made as to how to handle the situation.
When the discussion had concluded, the consultant was tasked with firing one of the two men standing by the pillars.
As Aesop established hundreds of years ago with his timeless fables we remember words best when we become engaged in a story. Max has compiled an anecdotal story collection designed to generate “ah- ha” moments during coaching sessions, presentations, and meetings. Click here to see more.