One chief operation manager was supposed to join a software development company at its development centre. Its head office was at some different location. It was a Monday when he was supposed to join. Before joining he planned his first day with his would be PA (personal assistant). He kept his first days work very short. Beside the joining formalities he kept a meeting with the sweepers and cleaners, that’s all. For rest of the days of the week he told that he will be busy in head office. He told his PA that he will start his full activity at development centre from the next Monday.
In the meeting with the sweepers along with the maintenance head, he announced that the sweepers have to be off from work for a week or so, till he does not say to join again. He told that it will be a paid off. He told maintenance head not to make any alternative arrangement for the work. With his hard face he specifically mentioned that it is his first instruction and it should be followed without any question. He left the meeting and left for the day. People started to guess lots of things and rumors started to spread.
As planned he went to head office from the next day and started his activities. Tuesday people somehow managed, Wednesday they became angry, Thursday it was intolerable, Friday they become furious. People tried to contact him to know why he has given such order. He kept on avoiding answering and only said it should be followed. People planned to report against him, they planned protest. People lost concentration in work and kept on discussing the issue. Most of the people thought that may be during weekend some higher authority will solve the problem.
When on next Monday people found that the situation is unchanged and it is too bad, they stopped working and broke into protest. Chief Officer came little late and while entering he could feel the situation. As soon he entered his office, his PA told that lots of high ranked people want to meet him immediately. Then he called for an immediate all hands meeting.
He took all the updates of events for the last one week from his PA. He told to the gathering that “ I didn’t know that sweepers have such a big contribution in software product….. I think sweepers get less than one tenth salary of junior most engineers. But I could not think they are so valuable in the company…. Tell me what is the problem if I do not want to keep a few so called lowest category, lowest qualified people in such a big software company?” Now the crowd understood his intention and kept spell bound. He continued”Sorry for the weeklong inconvenience to you. But I could not otherwise make you convinced, how important the sweepers are in a software company….. If sweepers are so important, my dear engineers, you can feel how important you are in this organization….. Never think that you are doing a less important or more important work than other. I am also no way more important than you. Every person is equally important for the organization. We only play different roles…… Some of you may ask if we all are equally important why we don’t get same salary. Here you have to understand the difference between the importance and the value creation. Your salary depends on how much value you create to the business of the organization. If you are a good artist, your quality may not pay you much to draw flow diagram, but it may pay you high in film industry….. Let me tell you one incident of my life to understand the difference between importance and value. In one of my previous company there was an office boy who was little dull but was very sincere, obedient and always having smiling face. He used to do exactly what was told to do, nothing more, nothing less. I used to keep work for him in a tray with notes. He used to do one after another. One day I put a paper to be sent by fax. I put a note on a paper “to be faxed by 11:30” and put the number also. I left for a meeting. Actually that day he was absent and so another new boy on his substitution took the work. Somehow the number was not working. The new fellow turned the piece of paper and found another number. He assumed that to be the alternative number. He sent the fax in that number and that was a big blunder. I knew the new fellow tried to be proactive at his level best without disturbing me in meeting. His intension was not wrong. But it was not expected from his level to take the intelligent step. If it was my old fellow he would have asked me. Lack of confidence of my old boy made him important for me. But I can not pay him the salary of a manager, because he is not doing the work of that value. He is indispensable and I can not replace the boy by any other, but his salary can not be excessively high….. So I wish you improve you capability, capacity to produce more value to the organization and grow in your career path, but do your current work with high importance….. Non-cooperation of any of you will create bigger impact to the organization than what happened last week…. As you are equal important with me to the organization you have all rights to point out even my faults if you think so. ……..”