What do you think?

By: Jan Bolick


This is a true story about Dick and Jane.  Their names don’t really matter though.   It’s a true story for people in offices everywhere.

Jane’s job is to make and keep customers happy.  To please them.  Dick is the boss.  Yep – that’s him in the photo.

Jane has gotten lots of calls and questions from customers and has gone to Dick for solutions.  He now has a backlog of decisions to make;  and Jane,  plus many other team members are waiting for him to make them.

Jane is frustrated.  People keep pressing her for answers that Dick hasn’t given to her to give to them.

Dick is wishing someone else could make some of these decisions but he’s afraid to trust their solutions – so he hopes there will be an end to the madness soon.

If not – he will go mad.  Which means he will have to quit his job.

Not a bad idea. He’s always wanted to  coach peewee football.

Eureka!   Coaches diagram a play, the players run it, the coaches watch, critique, make corrections, then the players run it again – over and over.  This repetition gives players the experience they need to run it confidently and make better decisions.  Dick decides that’s what he’ll do – design a play book for Jane- so that she can study the plays, practice them and run them on her own.

Then reality strikes – when would he have time to write a play book?  Oh well.

But then – the next time Jane comes in with a question, Dick answers:  “Well Jane – what do you think we should do?”

A bit taken aback, Jane answers the question.  Dick says it’s good with a few modifications and sends her off to handle the situation.  Just like that.

A few hours later, Jane comes back with another question. Dick answers, “Well Jane – how do you think we  should handle this one?”

This time, Dick is taken aback because Jane’s answer is better than what his would have been.

“Excellent” he says.  “Go do it!”

It will take a while for Jane to master every play, but with continued practice, and patience, Jane and Dick both will reap many rewards:

  • Their customers will get quicker answers.
  • Jane will be more independent.
  • Her morale and self-confidence will grow.
  • She will be more confident in Dick’s leadership because he is no longer a bottle neck.
  • He can even end up with a valuable play book IF he or Jane will write down each situation and the approved solution along the way.
  • And – once Jane and team have mastered the plays, Dick can take a break from the game, leave a winning team on the field – and be confident of a happy ending.

Initial Copyright 2005 by Business Class™

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