The assimilating capacity of the industrial world is the real
gauge of the progress which should be indulged in. This capacity
to take in new ideas and to work by new methods is not the same in
all beings, and it is not the same in all organizations. There are
ways by which it may be measurably increased. New views are more
readily digestible if presented by enthusiastic advocates, as this
stimulates an interest. Any attempt to forcibly inject new ideas
only results in indigestion.
The assimilating capacity of an industrial organization can be
greatly increased by any scheme that awakens an interest. The
controlling policies should include advance in efficiency and
generally in the quality of work turned out, but this advance
should not involve a break in the output. It mould be based on a
knowledge of the whole business. In other words, it should not
only pay in the long run, but if possible it should pay from the
moment it goes into effect.
We have said that all changes should be of the digestible kind,
and the feeding process should not be a stuffing process; that the
ingestion should not exceed the digestion. We have also briefly
mentioned the importance of keeping the digestion tuned up to the
best speed by having the organization in a condition to most
readily take in changes.
That we must make some allowance for inertia of thought and habit
in all mortals goes without saying, but the exact amount to be
allowed is very difficult to estimate.
Successful management depends on the degree with which a man can
estimate the receptivity of other beings with whom he deals. This
knowledge of receptivity should include the thought and action of
men all the way from the unskilled worker to the directors, and
also that of all men in other organizations in any way affected by
Just as food is more digestible if agreeable to the palate, so
this receptivity or assimilating power may be increased by
presenting new ideas and methods in agreeable form. A full
realization of the effect of this inertia of thought and habit
makes the great efficiency of specialization more comprehensible.
It is this human side that is the key, and if we do not act in
full accord with it we will probably be working against a great
The inertia works two ways. It hurts a progressive man just as
much to be tied to a work that requires no brainwork as it hurts a
sleepy member to be disturbed by progressive talk.