The pictures in the collage above are from the Stockyards here in Fort Worth. It was one of the first places I visited when I moved to Texas and it really does have sort of that Old West feel that you might see in a movie.
I rode into town during the Stock show and Rodeo which only enhanced the feeling because it was packed full of real cowboys, except I saw quite a few of them using their smartphones. I remember thinking I never saw John Wayne or Clint Eastwood using a phone while fighting the bad guys and started thinking about how those phones might play into it all.
Some of that was because I watched a daughter try and help her father figure out how to send an email using his phone and I started wondering about how capabilities and functionality. That is, are we really using the phones full functionality or just a small part of it.
Think about the smartphone for a moment. You can use it as a phone, as a communication device that sends/receives email, GPS, calendar, MP3 player, note taker, camera and probably a dozen other things we didn’t list here.
My guess is that many of us barely tap into really using the complete functionality of the phone, but that is a different post. But what it got me thinking about was a conversation I have had with friends/relatives about how they could do so much more if they were only given the opportunity to do so.
Let People Surprise You
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” General George S. Patton
History is filled with examples of the multiple approaches humans take to solving challenges and while there is no doubt some are more effective than others there is no reason why we shouldn’t ask the people we work with to think.
There is merit in thinking and asking our employees to think and not just assume the role of unthinking drone. If the goal is to produce world class product/service you want to create an environment which will help foster that.
One of the many reasons why constructing a team that incorporates multiple levels of age/experience is because the combination helps you approach the challenge from multiple angles and perspectives.
Those perspectives can really help you work smarter and not harder. They can help guide you into creating and building something special.
Limited and Unlimited Resources
During my career I have worked for start-ups, SMBs and Global 1000 companies. Every one of those companies had the same time restrictions to deal with, no one had more than a 24 hour day.
Some had more personnel, supplies and or manpower to apply but no one had more time.
The places I enjoyed working for the most were always the companies where we were asked to think and given the latitude to do our jobs in both conventional and unconventional ways.
Fear wasn’t used as a management tool and we weren’t divided into groups who were pitted against each other. We might have divided up responsibilities but it always felt like one team working for a common goal.
Morale was high and though we had regular meetings they were always productive and kept short so that we could work on getting things done and not talking them to death.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ― Albert Einstein
Imagine what you could do if you really used your smartphone to its full capability and then imagine what you and the people you work with could do if you really were given freedom to think, work and produce.