Projects which have long term deliverables tend to be ignored in the short term because there are no visible immediate results
Act 1: My friend came over for tea and stayed on for dinner which we decided to cook together. On the menu was ‘Rajma-Rice’. To know what I really learnt that day, you will have to bear with my recipe for Rajma (Kidney Beans cooked with Indian spices). In my recipe I fry onion & garlic before I grind them. I fried the onion and garlic golden brown and since I was short of time, I directly put it in the grinding jar along with the tomatoes. But the jar was small and could not accommodate all of it. Guess what, the moment I switched on the grinder, the lid flew off and we had tomatoes and onion all over the place. Our very own tomatina festival!
What happened next? Instead of cooking, my focus shifted to cleaning up and after that cutting some more onions and tomatoes and then a rewind of the complete process. Just that this time I was careful not to overload the jar.
- In order to harness optimum productivity from each individual, a manager needs to devise different ways to assign work. Although it cannot be denied that there is no limit to capacity and people do not realize their capabilities till the time they are pushed to their limit, the amount of work one can handle at a given point in time is not uniform. I could have ground all the ingredients in the same jar in two installments, investing two more minutes, instead of overloading the jar in an attempt to do it all at once and end up creating chaos. A manager needs to realize how much work to assign at a time and handle each individual differently or there would be more mess than work done, similar to what happened with the grinding jar.
- When you put something hot that is in context of work, on high priority, you need focus and more space to deliver it right. Since the onions were hot, they apparently needed more space in the jar, and were not supposed to be overloaded with tomatoes.
Act 2: I put milk to boil on the stove and being impatient, I left the slowly simmering milk unattended and got lost in the book I was in the middle of. The milk spilled over, burnt and I only realized what had happened when smelt the stench.
- Projects which have long term deliverables tend to be ignored in the short term because there are no visible immediate results. However each project irrespective of the horizon of results is important and deserves its fair share of attention. Lest it will get burnt as the milk did and you don’t want any of your work to be ruined beyond repair.
- The person who is doing that low priority work, also needs to be recognized, because he has invested his time and effort, which might go down the drain if not paid attention at the right time.
Managing people is not rocket science; still there are very few good people managers. And to the extent of sounding clichéd, people do not leave organizations, they leave managers. While books and courses can teach you the seemingly complex subjects such as finance, strategy etc, managing people which is the trickiest of all has to be learnt by observing and absorbing from day to day life.