For most of my pre-adult life I heard the phrase from my dad, “think, will ya?” My dad was always one that wanted my brother and me to think through something and come to the correct conclusion. Most of the time the reference was to completing a task that was given to one of us. We would be told what it was that was to be accomplished and then were held accountable for the proper completion. We were not given step by step instructions, we were expected to figure it out and do it correctly.
I was reminded of this little piece of my history recently in talking to a friend of mine who owns a business and is having trouble getting help. It has become a common theme between conversations of business owners that good help is almost impossible to find. There are plenty of people who are unemployed and willing to take a salary but very few who are actually up to the task.
This particular business owner told me of a situation where his employees were tasked to unloading a truck of supplies for his business. He has a landscaping business and needed plants and other nursery supplies unloaded by hand. This new employee could only work with one hand since his other hand held his phone which he would not put down while unloading the truck. He was told repeatedly to put the phone down but just couldn’t do it so he was fired.
Basically, he would rather hold his phone than have a job and get paid.
The second failing I often hear about is when an employee does what they are told and only what they are told. Part of thinking on the job involves not only doing what you are asked but also assessing what needs to be done and doing it. Most people today don’t want to take responsibility for anything that might involve their individual judgement.
My dad also used to say that good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement. One can’t learn if one doesn’t make any mistakes. I will take an employee who uses their judgment and initiative and makes a mistake now and again over one who will only do what they are told. The point of this article is, if there is one very valuable lesson you can give your children and grandchildren it is the lesson of doing quality work. To this day I still my dad’s voice saying, “Think, will ya?”
Thinking has served me well and learning to work will serve the next generation well.