Is it my imagination or are most organisations looking for more and more ways of being more efficient and more effective? Looking for savings here, making cuts there?
It seems to have become endemic, an automatic reaction to any poor results or desire for greater profits. But where is the wisdom in all of this?
Walking in the mountains, having lost your water bottle, how would you drink from a refreshing mountain stream? Would you, as quickly as possible, grab what you could?
No, you’d be even more thirsty and frustrated!
You’d carefully cup your open hands together and allow the water to fill them. Then you’d gently raise your hands to your mouth and, carefully, pour.
Gently, carefully. That’s the wise way. In any operation.
“OK”, the slightly wiser QA man says “let’s get that down in some procedures”. And so instructions are written:
“Cup hands gently together, being careful not to leave any gaps between the fingers”. If the author is at all aware, they’ll even include a photograph to illustrate the intent.
The instructions are issued and results monitored. The feedback is not encouraging:
The wise man sitting by the stream smiles amiably at the attempts to follow procedures. “Watch”, he says.
The puzzled, frustrated and thirsty students stand on the bank as the wise man finds a suitable place to kneel. He cups his hands together seeming to offer a prayer as he does so. Gentle he immerses them into the bubbling flow and carefully he removes his hand in one flowing movement as he lowers his mouth to meet them. For effect he slurps the water in noisily. “Ahhh!” he exclaims with a beaming smile.
“How?” the students demanded.
He shrugged his shoulders. “It is not for me to teach or explain” he said . . . and walked away.
For the next few hours the students tried and tried again. Eventually one took his instructions and began folding the paper: he’d remembered his origami hobby from a child. Paper cup anybody?
Image: Cwm Idwal by Keith Beasley
Dr keith beasley
As an engineer turned life-guide and Quality Assurance expert who did his PhD on 'Transcending Thought', I've seen life from many perspectives. We need them all to even begin to make sense of life . . .
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