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Nov 30, 2006

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Staff is the most valuable asset

The Goose with the Golden Eggs, Aesop's fables

The working conditions in some workplaces are so bad that staff
often fall ill, are stressed and depressed. On occasions, they may
lead to family disputes and matrionial breakups. Many who can't
beat the system choose to leave it and the turnover rate in some
companies can run into the high 2 digits. A manager or an
employer naturally wants to get his dollar's worth from the staff
and works the staff as though he wants every drop of water
squeezed out of a rock. What he fails to understand is that having
the employees work harder and longer hours will not increase
the productivity level. In fact, the consequences are the exact
opposite; staff will not be motivated to work or simply jump ship
and work for another boss who values the staff as humans and
not machines.

Story:

The Goose with the Golden Eggs

The Goose with the Golden Eggs cartoon

One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there
an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as
heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he
thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home
on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an
egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he
soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew
greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could
give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.

Moral:

Greed oft o'er reaches itself.
Greed destroys the source of good.
Those who have plenty want more and so lose all they have.

Kidding me:

Foolish to kill the goose. A financial consultant may have
suggested better ways to make more money from this
extraordinary find. The top 5 ways to make money from a
goose that lays golden eggs are:-

Hatch the eggs, breed more geese that can lay more golden eggs.
List the goose on the stock exchange.
Clone the goose.
Clinch sponsorship and advertising deals.
Sell the goose on eBay.

Quotable Quotes:

“The most important factor: our respect for the
individual. In IBM it occupies a major portion of
management time.” ... Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

“People are the lifeblood of any airline.”
... Rod Eddington

“You can't treat your people like an expense item.”
... Andrew S. Grove

“The more time I spend with our people, the more
I find out about our business.” ... Herb Kelleher

“Human resources are the greatest assets of any
company.” ... Narayana Murthy

“A chairman who never wanders about his agency
becomes a hermit, out of touch with his staff.”
... David Ogilvy

[browse collection of quotes and quotations]

Lessons in life:

We have often heard the advice “Not to kill the golden goose”.
Many people, however, are not even aware of what the “goose”
in their lives is. A manufacturing firm, for example, may hold
the machine that produces the chipsets as the most valuable
item. A fisherman may look upon his fishing boat and net as
his most priced possession. In almost all situations, I view
“people” as the most valuable asset. Even if you have the most
sophisticated machines, you need skilled people to operate them.
Likewise, a fisherman's livelihood depends on his skills and
experience in catching fish, more so than the boat and equipment.
In the past, companies tend to overlook the fact that their most
priced asset is their staff. They hire and fire at will, leaving their
operations crippled, and growth stifled. Many major corporations
have over the years attributed their successes to their valued staff.
The expenditure on the training and development of their staff
has also increased. Welfare needs are equally important. Before
you force your staff to work the extra hours on weekend, think of
what it will take to keep the “goose” happy and well to produce the
golden eggs for you.

Related Articles:

Incentives give the extra push to succeed
Give genuine appraisals
Value every team member
Value Ideas and Staff Suggestions
Higher Purpose and Job Satisfaction

Books worth reading:

12: The Elements of Great Managing is a good read for all
managers and employees. You will be inspired by the stories of
several great managers who have harnessed employee
engagement to turn around critical situations, and face tough
challenges.

While it is crucial to engage employees, do not forget to hone
the talents of your employees. In First, Break All the Rules:
What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently, Marcus
Buckingham and Curt Coffman advise good managers on the
need to fit people into the right roles, hire for talent rather
than experience, and focus on strength rather than weakness.

Taking care of your employees also include taking care of their
four dimensions - physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional,
- so that they may work more quickly and effortlessly.
Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership
authority, calls it “sharpening the saw” in his book,
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

© Business Fables and Management Lessons

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