Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Management Stories # 2 - Comparing with others

A heart surgeon took his car to his local garage for a regular service, where he usually exchanged a little friendly banter with the owner, a skilled but not especially wealthy mechanic.

"So tell me," says the mechanic, "I've been wondering about what we both do for a living, and how much more you get paid than me.."

"Yes?.." says the surgeon.

"Well look at this," says the mechanic, as he worked on a big complicated engine, "I check how it's running, open it up, fix the valves, and put it all back together so it works good as new.. We basically do the same job don't we? And yet you are paid ten times what I am - how do you explain that?"

The surgeon thought for a moment, and smiling gently, replied,"Try it with the engine running.."

This simple example explains why we should not try comparing ourselves with others. We might keep thinking that others are not doing a great job, and that it is dead simple. But we might be missing to see an important dimension, which could be all the more critical, and is better known to that person only.

Sometimes, the job well done by others might sound like a tiny stuff, but little drops of water make an ocean - if people keep doing even small jobs in a bad fashion, all such would snowball into a big pending project for someone else to clear.

From now on at least, let us try to respect the jobs executed well by every other person. Respect given earns respect to you again.