It wasn’t my choice to listen to this particular conversation but we were stuck in a waiting room and since he had ignored requests from others to take his conversation elsewhere it left few options.
Granted I considered feeding him his cellphone but that is considered both impolite and assault so I figured the best course of action was to hope one of us would be called into the office sooner than later.
About five minutes later he was called into the back and as he walked through the doors someone shouted “you are the reason why people shouldn’t be allowed to use cellphones on airplanes.
And Then Came The Zombie Apocalypse
While I had to smile at the comment about cellphones on airplanes what really got my attention was how many times he said he didn’t have time to teach people how to do their jobs.
Something about that comment reminded me of a scene from The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead is a tale of survival. It is about what happens to the survivors of an epidemic that wipes out millions of people and destroys the basic fabric and infrastructure of life.
That guy on the phone made me think of conversation between two of the main characters who prior to the epidemic had been a farmer and a cop.
There is a moment where the two of them are standing in a field talking about how to survive when the former farmer makes a suggestion.
He tells the former cop he can teach him how to plant crops and grow food and says they can pass that knowledge along by teaching the cop’s soon how to plant and grow food too.
It is a sensible approach.
Think about what would happen if you couldn’t order a pizza from a restaurant, drive to the store to pick up food/medicine/clothes and couldn’t call a plumber/electrician/contractor to help you fix/maintain your home.
What would you do? How would you get by if you couldn’t hire someone to help you?
No Time To Teach, To Time To Learn
The screamer on the cellphone had bad manners and struck me as someone who could benefit from a conversation about the difference between being a boss and a leader.
But I can’t say he is the only one to voice this concern about not having time to teach or that he is the only one who feels the pressure of time.
We live during a period where most of us feel the pressure that comes from feeling like we don’t have time to relax.
Everyone is in a rush to do more in less time, myself included.
I don’t think of this as a good thing. It is an issue that we have created and one that has the potential to become a serious problem.
What happens if you don’t have time to teach your staff/employees/team how to do the work?
I am not talking about basic skills or suggesting there isn’t a standard they should reach before you hire them because there is always something.
Rather I am talking about what happens when you throw someone into the water and ask them to swim.
Will they flounder and eventually figure it out or will they drown because there are no life preservers and shore is too far away to reach.
And if you have no time to teach, does it mean you have no time to learn? Are you stuck where you are at because you can’t find time to improve your own education.
A Parents Obligation
I think about it all not just as a businessman but as a father.
Parents have a responsibility to teach their children but there are certain things I have always considered as being part of a father’s obligation to teach.
One of those is the importance of understanding that you are never too old to learn something new. The ability to learn is critical and it is part of what enables us to grow and be successful.
If you don’t have time to teach and you don’t have time to learn what do you have time for?