YOU may possess unlimited talents, but if you don’t know how to unlock them, they become worthless to you and to those around you. A perfect example is a true story about the Apaches in the time of the Old West. I discovered this article from an unknown source when I did a partial 5S good housekeeping at home last week:
“The Apaches attacked a cavalry unit and captured the army paymaster’s safe. The Apaches had never seen a safe before; but they knew it held a large amount of gold. However, they had no idea how to open the safe. They pounded on its knob with stones, whacked at it with their tomahawks, roasted it in a hot fire, soaked it in the river, and tried to blast it open with gunpowder, but nothing worked.
“Finally, the Apache chief had an idea. He suggested they throw it off a cliff. It would surely pop open with such a powerful impact when it hit the rocks hundreds of feet below. Much to their disappointment, however, that did not work.
“Totally frustrated, the Apaches gave up and left the treasured safe in the ravine. Members of the army later found the safe, with the gold still inside. Within a few minutes, they opened the safe with the correct combination.”
Many of us are very much like that. We only need to discover the right combination to open the treasures that are stored inside us. And those involved with that person would also benefit from those unlocked treasures and abilities.
We heard it many times before—“opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” and “genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” But how many of us realize all these? If you’re a manager, how would you handle problem employees or those who are classified as bozos (incompetent and irrelevant persons) by Steve Jobs?
That’s assuming you’re not a bozo yourself.
Think back to your high school science class to remember how you did an experiment. Document your hypothesis. “If I use a habal-habal (illegal motorcycle ride for a fee), I will shave 30 minutes off my commute at the risk of an accident.” Or “If I turn off my Facebook interaction with friends for two hours, I will complete this report without delay.”
What did you learn from the exercise? One 58-year friend tells me—“Doing an experiment at this late stage of our career is like receiving a comb after we’ve lost our hair.” True enough. But who cares?
Experimentation need not be taken for granted at any stage in life. That’s why it’s better for us to look for many options out there on how to unlock our talents and manage deadwoods in our midst.
One of the options that came to me is the Harada Method, dubbed “as the world’s best method to develop people.”
Norman Bodek promotes the Harada Method as “a proven system for helping people achieve success.” For it he credits Takashi Harada, who was a track and field coach at the worst school in the most deprived neighborhood of Osaka, Japan. Harada’s technique helped his students “reach the pinnacle of success, winning 13 gold medals at the national track and field competitions. They became the best athletes at their age level in all of Japan. His school went from the worst and became number one out of 380 schools for 12 years in a row.”
I’m not here to endorse the Harada Method because I’ve not seen how Bodek is doing it for his clients. Therefore, it’s up to you to do a “buyer-beware approach” of the program as we’re all discriminating customers looking for a much better deal after having experienced dealing with suppliers who promised to make good, but in the end made trouble, if not made excuses.
Now, how do you keep bozos out of your range? There are hundreds of solutions out there. On top of my list is to impress upon the person or a supplier your desired expectations from a work relationship, whether as an employee or a supplier. Put the terms in writing. And do it well, devoid of any clutter and jargon so as to avoid any misinterpretation. Then allow people to ask questions.
Test their understanding, capability, and honesty to do the specific jobs by setting reasonable timetables. Then seek their ideas. But don’t be swayed by their standard replies. Assume that what people promise in writing is made to be broken.
Of course, allow people to commit occasional mistakes. It’s the mark of a person who desires to do much.
Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for his random management thoughts.