Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Workers do learn from doing

I was reminded recently that those "who do" learn from what they are doing. This isn't just book-learning, but often book-learning followed-up with on-the-job experience.

Years ago (when I was a corporate citizen), my manager wondered why we couldn't scan as many pages per hour as the vendor had said. Yes, the book said "X", but our experience taught us differently. We knew what was slowing us down and why, and we knew what could and could not be changed in order to make us go faster. Our on-the-ground learning was important and we needed to take that learning into account when we scoped out new scanning projects.

Day 50: New vinyl flooringRecently, I had new vinyl flooring laid. The supervisor has one opinion of how it was going to be laid and the workers another. After the vinyl ripped while being installed to the supervisor's specifications, I learned that the workers had better knowledge. They used their plan the second time and the flooring looks great.

So...the lesson...when you're planning a project, get input from everyone, including the people who will be doing the work. What is their opinion of how things will go? Is there a legitimate reason why they are thinking differently?

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