On the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday we were travelling to a party across the Golden Gate Bridge. It just so happens that the ship the Queen Mary II was going under the bridge just as the game was about to start. It created a gigantic traffic jam on the bridge and all around it. What are the chances that the largest ship to ever enter San Francisco Bay would be going under the bridge just as the biggest game of the year was about to start? You couldn’t plan it that way. Under the Laws of Convergence, it turns out these types of events happen all the time. To understand them is to better appreciate them.
Going into a factory is always a good reminder for me that there are people in the US who stand by a machine for eight hours and that there are still “first line” supervisors and that a lot of workers still get “breaks”. You know, breaks that go from 10 – 10:15 in the morning. Sometimes we forget that not everyone works in a cubicle with a computer blinking in front of them.
When I say the word “factory” I mean something goes in the front door and something better comes out the back door and hard working people are involved in between. Those hard working people can’t drink coffee all day because they are on their feet all day and need their hands to keep the lines going. When they do get to the coffee machines, there is no fresh half-and-half, just Cremora with a plastic spoon sticking out of the top of the plastic bottle. And they make $8.00 an hour.
I toured a plant recently where rice cakes were being made. People worked hard and were proud of their work. The managers were trying to improve the performance of the plant and respect the work of the people at the same time. They were all trying to grow the company. No one was worrying about conference call technologies or whether the company would support their blackberry. They wanted a fair days wage for a fair days work and some sense of security if they contributed. It was good to see.
Sometimes we forget that organizations and people are still out there like this. Tom Peters was right when he said something like, “Business isn’t hard. You make stuff and you sell stuff.” He was right and for those of us who spend time in nice offices with all kinds of technology, we are lucky.
I am the first to admit I am losing my short term memory. Abandoning a thought will probably mean it will never come back. When one does it is a cause for jubilation even if the thought that returns is that I need to have my teeth cleaned. So when I lost my “To Do” list last week it was cause for great angst and concern. So that you don’t get financially concerned, we are not talking about a list embedded on an expensive Blackberry type gadget. I am talking about a small pad with coffee stains on it. Great thoughts, big ideas and grocery lists were on that list, none of which I remember. So I had to start a new list and it’s not half bad. It is probably better than the old list since it is shorter and less to remember. I can cross tasks off this list with the same joy as any of the other lists I have lost.In the spirit of changing these bad habits, I sought the truth and just happened on the San Francisco Library book sale. There, calling to me from the $1.00 table was, “How to Get More Done in Less Time” by Joseph D. Cooper, which came out in 1962. Under the heading, “How to Get Through A Day”, the suggestions go something like this:
The Morning. (5-7am) Rise, wash and contrive day’s business; prosecute the present study and breakfast.
The question is, What good shall I do this day?
Noon. Read and dine
Evening (6-9) Put things in their places. Supper. Music, diversion of conversation. Examination of the day
Not a bad way to look at it. My “To Do” list, although still not found, is amended.