It seems that a man had gone to the tailor to have a suit made cheaply, but when the suit was finished and he went to try it on, it didn’t fit him at all.
Complaining that the jacket was too big in back, the right arm was too long, one pant leg was too short and three buttons were missing, the man was justifiably upset.
“No problem,” said the tailor, “just hunch your back, bend your arm, walk with a limp, and stick your fingers through the button holes and you’ll look just fine!”
The man contorted his body to fit the suit and feeling quite duped by the tailor, he left. He had not walked one block when he was approached by a stranger.
“Who made that suit for you?” asked the stranger. “I’m in the market for a new suit myself.”
Surprised, but pleased at the compliment, the man pointed out the tailor’s shop.
“Well, thanks very much,” said the stranger, hurrying off. “I do believe I’ll go to that tailor for my suit. Why, he must be a genius to fit a man with as many ailments as you!”
Funny? But what if I told you that is exactly what business entities and education institutions do every day?
Monday Morning Perspective:
“Do not primarily train men to work. Train them to serve willingly and intelligently.“
–James Cash Penney
Education institutions are forcing individuals to learn the same programs of instruction with the same teaching methodologies without any respect for the varying learning styles of the students. The worst outcome is that the entire classroom works at the level of the least competent student, holding back those who might excel at significantly higher levels if the learning environment were tweaked for individual growth.
Corporations select employee development programs that put every single employee through the same training program without any evaluation of their individual strengths and weaknesses. They make the faulty assumption that everyone will exit the program with the same functional skills. Without individual assessment, even the greatest trainer and facilitator could not produce that outcome. Low expectations inevitably produce low performance results.
The federal sector is a glowing example of this approach to leadership. A U.S. Federal employee has one of two operating modes: “Climbing” or “Cruise Control”. Climbers are the motivated employees that ignore hourly overtime pay and do what needs to be done because they take pride in the position they hold and the people they serve. Cruise controllers accept the fact that they receive a pay check every 15 days without fail, are incredibly difficult to fire for incompetence, and do just the bare minimum to keep their jobs.
Every organization has their share of cruise controllers. An organization that builds systems that have no room for over-achievers will never retain them long term. When approaching people development, you can’t treat people like cattle. One size will never fit all. If you want an organization filled with average individuals with average results, a one size fits all approach is as good of a guarantee as you’ll ever get.
But if you want a group of top performers who exceed expectations on a routine basis, it’s time to raise the ceiling of expectations and give these people room to grow.
Have a wonderful week!