Employee "A" in a company walked up to his manager and asked what my job is for the day? The manager took "A" to the bank of a river and asked him to cross the river and reach the other side of the bank. "A" completed this task successfully and reported back to the manager about the completion of the task assigned. The manager smiled and said "GOOD JOB"
Next day Employee "B" reported to the same manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task as above to this person also. The Employee "B' before starting the task saw Employee "C" struggling in the river to reach the other side of the bank. He realized "C" has the same task. Now "B" not only crossed the river but also helped "C" to cross the river. "B" reported back to the manager and the manager smiled and said "VERY GOOD JOB"
The following day Employee "Q" reported to the same manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task again. Employee "Q" before starting the work did some homework and realized "A", "B" & "C" all has done this task before. He met them and understood how they performed. He realized that there is a need for a guide and training for doing this task. He sat first and wrote down the procedure for crossing the river, he documented the common mistakes people made, and tricks to do the task efficiently and effortlessly. Using the methodology he had written down he crossed the river and reported back to the manager along with documented procedure and training material. The manager said "Q" you have done an "EXCELLENT JOB".
The following day Employee "O' reported to the manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task again. "O" studied the procedure written down by "Q" and sat and thought about the whole task. He realized the company is spending a lot of money in getting this task completed. He decided not to cross the river, but sat and designed and implemented a bridge across the river and went back to his manager and said, "You no longer need to assign this task to anyone". The manager smiled and said "Outstanding job 'O'. I am very proud of you."
What is the difference between A, B, Q & O? Many a times in life we get tasks to be done at home, at office, at play.,
Most of us end up doing what is expected out of us. Do we feel happy? Most probably yes. We would be often disappointed when the recognition is not meeting our expectation. Let us compare ourselves with "B". Helping someone else the problem often improves our own skills. There is an old proverb (I do not know the author) "learn to teach and teach to learn". From a company point of view "B" has demonstrated much better skills than "A" since one more task for the company is completed.
"Q" created the knowledge base for the team. More often than not, we do the task assigned to us without checking history. Learning from other's mistake is the best way to improve efficiency. This knowledge creation for the team is of immense help. Re-usability reduces cost thereby increases productivity of the team. "Q" demonstrated good "team-player" skills,
Now to the outstanding person, "O" made the task irrelevant; he created a Permanent Asset to the team.
If you notice B, Q and O all have demonstrated "team performance" over and above individual performance; they have also demonstrated a very invaluable characteristic known as "INITIATIVE".
Initiative pays off everywhere whether at work or at personal life. If you have initiative you will succeed. The initiative is a continual process and it never ends. This is because this year's achievement is next year's task. You cannot use the same success story every year. The story provides an instance of performance, whereas measurement needs to be spread across at least 6-12 months. Consequently, performance should be consistent and evenly spread. Out-of-Box thinkers are always premium and that is what everyone constantly looks out for. The initiative, Out-of-Box thinking, and commitment are the stepping stone to success.
The initiative should be lifelong. Think out of the box!