Ruminations on “One Best Way”…

Posted: July 14, 2016 in career, career development
Tags: , , , , ,

Frederick TaylorDeveloped by Frederick Taylor, who was shocked at the inefficiency of a metal products foundry where he worked (much to the dismay of his wealthy family), “One Best Way” became perhaps the first of thousands of management fads that have been foisted upon the working world. Simply stated, Taylor studied each step a worker took to complete a task, seeking to arrange the work setting to get the most efficient use of time, equipment, energy and materials. He then determined the average production a worker could be expected to complete in a work day, creating opportunity for incentive-based “raises,” identification of superior employees, evaluating employee performance, etc.

Not surprisingly, this was not all that popular with the working class, although “Taylorism” came to be applied rather extensively with the advent of World War I. (Interesting, it is worth noting that Taylor and his cohorts did build some “fudge factor” measures into the data, realizing that it was impractical to think that workers could maintain optimum levels of production for an entire shift.)

I ran into an alternative view of Taylorism a few years ago while reading the excellent book Free Agent Nation by Dan Pink (my review of it is in http://www.goodreads.com, by the way). Pink changed the term to “Tailorism,” work that is designed to provide the highest degree of personal satisfaction, meeting the needs and desires of the employee. For the self-employed (Dan Pink’s audience in the book), this is done by fashioning your own career, becoming a true “Free Agent.”

However, for those of us who employ or are employed, there is an equally useful application. As I identify the key skills, values and abilities for myself and those around me, seeking to find ways to apply them to my work and life, I can become something of a “Free Agent” in my personal Career Development. The “One Best Way” becomes the way that maximizes my contributions to the organization by tapping into what I have termed in earlier blogs as my “Best Stuff,” benefiting both me and my company. Progressive organizations should apply this process to virtually everyone on staff, seeking to assist them in identifying, fostering and applying their “Best Stuff” daily.

Now, THAT’s a “One Best Way!”

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