The Story of True Excellence in Business
Fewer People Plus More Pay Equals Excellence
Once upon a time there was a small department in a large organisation. It was a typical pyramid –a director, below him a manager, a secretary, five workers. To mesh with the rest of the company, their work had to be faultless and finished by 7pm. Most times it wasn’t, of course.
Here’s what was going on. The workers would take the work to the manager, who would make a few changes (otherwise what was he there for). He’d send it to the director, who would make a few changes (otherwise what was he there for). The troops had learnt that whatever they did they’d have to do over again, so they were giving it a lick and a promise. Upshot: work finished at 11pm, full of errors. And nothing eventually got done. No progress no development and certainly little or no profit was recorded for the department.
For once, the traditional solution of adding more bodies was avoided. Instead, the director, manager and secretary were moved. The workers were called together and told how much was available for wages and salaries. Consider yourself a partnership,” they were told. “Hire who you need, pay yourselves whatever budget will stand –and get the work done without errors by seven o’clock”.
For a while work suffered, but one day it all began to come together. It turned out that the “partners” didn’t need anybody else, so they were able to raise salaries 25 per cent. They split up the responsibilities and discovered, to their amazement, that they could come in at ten o’clock and still get the work done without errors by four. They are all having a picnic; the rest of the organisation is jealous as hell.
The point: “Five people in a partnership work a lot better than eight in a pyramid”. Put another way: “Fewer people paid more tend to produce excellence at no over-all cost –except to the people who get fired”