When I was out running the other day, I saw a man taking a break from creating a Cornish Hedge, which is a stone structure despite the name. He had completed about half of it and there was a big jumble of stones in front of where the rest of the hedge would go. I wish him good morning and said something about the hedge which led to a conversation. He was not a happy man although I expect that was only a temporary situation. I usually find craftsmen to be contented people.
He was building the hedge on the boundary of a new build house and explained that although the owners had paid for a lot of fancy expensive stuff in the house, they had insisted on buying cheap stone for the wall, despite his advice that it was a false economy. The infill material they had supplied was also substandard as well. He explained that it was taking a lot longer to make something half decent out of the material than had it been good quality material. He said, “to be honest I’d be happy if it fell over once I have left.” I ran on thinking about his words. When I ran past again later, I could tell from his body language that his heart was not in it.
The craftsman’s situation is what often happens in many businesses, employees are expected to work with poor materials, ineffective or no training and inadequate support from management. Management who are quite happy to have nice cars, posh offices and a sparkle reception area but are not prepared to invest in their biggest asset, their people. Those people will not be happy in their work, it will take them longer to do things ,they will become dissatisfied and may leave hoping your business collapses. Happy workers with the right materials will build something of quality that will pass the test of time.
When I try and put up shelves at home it doesn’t turn out well. It is not because I set out to do a bad job, no it is because I do not have the right tools for the job or the relevant training and experience. Staff do not set out to do a bad job and some succeed in doing a great job despite management’s attempts to frustrate them, but most end up producing something like my shelving attempts.
It is not their fault, management have either employed the wrong person (I now know to employ a professional rather than to attempt all but the most minor DIY jobs myself), not provided the right tools and materials or, in some cases, the right training. One last thing, listen to advice from people who know what they are doing, like the guy I talked to on my run. Workers often know more about the coalface than bosses or in his case the property owner.
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