“The thinking junior”- 24 December 2013

Sudhir was just a few weeks old in the company, a fresh MBA with the whole life to look forward to. He was very enthusiastic about his first job from which he had decision to make a great career start. His father, who ran a small business but wanted the son to work elsewhere, had told him, “Look, son, I want you to understand that there is always a difference between a person who thinks and another who does not have the habit.” Armed with this sound advice, Sudhir had stepped onto the sprawling premises of the factory. He was, of course, a management trainee and had several layers of bosses over him. When he started work, his father’s advice was ringing in Sudhir’s mind.

Just in a few weeks, he was called for a meeting of juniors with a couple of senior managers. The bosses wanted to know from the bunch of juniors their ideas about stepping up the productivity of some departments. That was not just an ‘ideas session’ but a serious business. Many juniors started firing from the hip. When his turn came, Sudhir said thoughtfully, “Sir, the purpose of the meeting is important and it would not be possible for me to say something off the cuff, which would be unfair. So, if I am allowed a little time to think, I would be able to make some meaningful suggestions.”
The moment Sudir said this, all juniors laughed aloud mockingly. However, one of the two seniors raised his hand to command silence, and said, “Yes, Sudhir, I agree. Let us break for half hour and assemble again. You have a point”.
In the half-hour break, all his peers poked fun at Sudhir, but he did not mind. He picked up his cup of coffee and stood near a window looking out onto the garden. His mind was engrossed in deep thought. After a little while, a good idea emerged from his thinking.
When the meeting started again, all others had nothing to offer. Sudhir, however, spoke purposefully and systematically. He said, “Sir, I realise that our workers in this department have long hours because of the process-compulsion. When the process starts, they do not get a break. At the end, all of them are tired and their productivity drops. So I suggest that we form small work teams that would work for certain length of time and then take a break for some time. During this time, another work team will take over. In this manner, every worker will get a few minutes of break every couple of hours and the element drudgery will not occur. That would help in stepped productivity.”
Both the bosses were happy with the idea, which had some obvious difficulties, but liked the suggestion. The meeting discussed the suggestion in detail and then Sudhir got an invitation for a meeting with Works Manager.
In due course of time, the suggestion was implemented with appropriate modifications and productivity of the department really increased. A few months later, on the Founder’s Day, Sudhir got a reward for his creative suggestion. And the citation was titled, “The Thinking Junior”.
“This is just a beginning”, Sudhir promised himself.
Back at home, his father was extremely happy. He said, “I am glad, you have started a career in thinking”.
That idea was very appealing! A career in thinking!
In any career, that could be an asset – thinking.

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