第一線的智慧

By Rick Boxx

第一線的智慧

我的朋友保羅和一些投資人投資了一個新的醫藥產品。但是當這個新產品進入醫藥市場之後,因為設計上的重大失誤,這個產品失去效能。

當保羅告訴投資者說:「這個產品需要改善」時,投資者們卻不接受業務告訴他們這個產品有問題。他們認為這個產品不用改善,是業務應該更努力去行銷。

最後,當這個產品快要因為失敗而退出市場時,保羅做了最後的努力和投資人溝通,希望能改善產品。儘管百般不願意,投資人同意了,產品也改善了。三個月之後,大家都感到非常驚訝(不包括保羅),因為產品改善了,銷售量狂飆,虧損不再,醫藥界也得到他們想要的產品。

類似這樣的事,在商場上其實是很常見的。高層的領導人和經理人做了一些重大的決定,卻沒有詢問第一線的工作人員的建議,這些人包括製造產品的人、提供服務的人以及行銷和銷售的人。當結果不如預期時,高層卻不知道出了甚麼錯。

幾十年前,這樣的情況有了重大的轉變。這個改變是從日本開始的。在日本,在重大改變之前,相關的工作人員會經常性的被徵詢意見。有趣的是,這樣的變化是由一個美國的工程師和管理顧問W. Edwards Deming所促成的。他的貢獻包括改善服務品質以及提高產品品質。他所主張的「管理的十四個重點之一」其中一點就是:「讓每一個在公司工作的人都能參與改變。改變也是每一個員工的職責。」透過人人參與公司的改變,形成品質提升的良性循環。

Demings的方法對這個時代的工商業界來說是劃時代的,但是他的想法卻不是原創的。聖經很重視向有第一手知識的人請教。例如,箴言12章15節說的,「愚妄人所行的,在自己眼中看為正直;惟智慧人肯聽人的勸教。

每天在職場我們就像是在打仗,跟同業競爭爭取客人的青睞。箴言11章14節說:「無智謀,民就敗落;謀士多,人便安居。」「智慧人大有能力;有知識的人力上加力。24章6你去打仗,要憑智謀;謀士眾多,人便得勝。」(24章5-6節)

在職場上,能尊重有第一手資訊的員工(尤其是那些接近顧客的)也重視產品的生產過程,是明智的。因為站在第一線的員工能看到管理階層象牙塔裡所看不到的。

本文版權為正直資源中心(Integrity Resource Center, Inc.)所有。本文獲得授權改編自瑞克.博克思的正直時刻Integrity Moments with Rich Boxx」。這系列的文章是以一個基督徒的觀點評論職場的正直議題。

省思討論題目

你是否也遇到在產品製造和服務上有明顯需要改變的問題,但是上司卻不願意做必要的改變的狀況?你覺得為什麼上層的人不願意改變? 為了必要的改變,我們要如何克服不願意接受別人建議的心態? 參與式的管理和品質提升的良性循環已行之有年,如果你們公司有採用的話,請分享你們的經驗。 聖經告訴我們向擁有第一手資訊的人尋求建議是很重要的,因為他們有現場經驗、知識和方法,能當場解決問題,而我們要選擇哪些人向他們請教呢?

備註: 如果你手上有聖經,希望閱讀更多關於這個主題的經文,請參考:箴言12章15節、15章22節、19章20節、27節、20章18節、27章17節;傳道書4章9-12節

THE WISDOM OF THE FRONT LINE

By Rick Boxx

A friend of mine, Paul, and some investors launched a new business with a promising new medical product. The product concept was excellent, but when the medical community used this new product, it was not effective because of significant design flaws.

When Paul communicated to his investors that the product needed to be revised, the investors did not accept what their sales people were saying about the design problems. Investors believed the product did not need changes; the sales representatives just had to do a better job of marketing it.

Ultimately, with the business rapidly nearing failure, Paul made one last effort to convince the investor group to allow him to change the design. With great reluctance, the investors finally agreed, and changes were implemented. To the surprise of the investors – but not to Paul – within three months, sales began to soar, losses were averted, and the medical community had a product they were eager to use.

This scenario illustrates a not-uncommon problem in the business and professional world. Individuals at the top levels of leadership and management make critical decisions without consulting front-line workers, whether they are the ones involved in manufacturing the product, those who provide the services, or staff assigned sales and marketing responsibilities. When results fail to come as expected, leaders struggle to understand what went wrong.

Decades ago, significant shifts were started to address this common issue. It began in Japan, where workers were regularly consulted before implementing changes that directly affected their work areas. Interestingly, a catalyst in this change was W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer and management consultant. His many contributions included emphasis on improved service and higher levels of product quality. One of his “14 Points for Management was, “Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.” This led to the development of quality circles and participative management, giving everyone opportunity to provide input into systems and process.

Demings” approaches were revolutionary for the business world at the time, but his ideas were hardly new. The Bible speaks much about the value of obtaining the advice and perspectives of people with firsthand knowledge. For instance, Proverbs 12:15 teaches, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”

Every day in the workplace we engage in a battle of sorts – a battle against competitors, and a battle to gain the favor of customers and clients. Proverbs 11:14 instructs, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure.” Another verse similarly observes, “A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance and for victory many advisors” (Proverbs 24:5-6).

We would be wise never to overlook the wisdom of others in your workplace, especially those closest to your customers, as well as the production processes. They can see – from the front line – things we cannot see from the “ivory tower.”

Copyright 2017, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick's daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God's Way.”

Reflection/Discussion Questions

Have you ever been in a situation where problems with product design or service were made known, but corporate leadership was unwilling to make necessary changes? What is the cause for such reluctance when flaws are evident? How can we best overcome such unwillingness to accept recommendations for needed changes? Participative management and quality circles now are concepts that have been in use for many years. What has been your experience with them – if at all? The Bible passages cited speak to the importance of seeking out advice and counsel from people with knowledge and perspectives that apply directly to critical circumstances. How can we go about determining who those advisers should be?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 12:15, 15:22, 19:20,27, 20:18, 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Show More
發佈留言

發佈留言必須填寫的電子郵件地址不會公開。 必填欄位標示為 *