The manual worker's energies are so absorbed in the physical tasks
that he is annoyed by any suggestion to change his method. If he
were given the position at a desk he would probably be interested
in the progressive schemes for betterment of methods of work or
management of business.
Bearing this state of affairs in mind, it behooves the progressive
man to approach the problem of applying his theories in a very
careful manner. He must realize that the men in various parts of
the work are under stress of every day's requirements that makes
it very difficult to intelligently take up any new scheme of
procedure. Many an ideal doctrine is a beautiful thing in theory
but of little value if its introduction requires an immense but
unavailable energy to put it into practise.
He must realize that it is the doing of work that counts and that
the men who are doing things must not be annoyed. All plans for
betterment must conform to the assimilating power of the men and
must not cut off their food in time of change. In other words, the
new plans should be so matched on to the old methods that the
change to the new will not interrupt the production.
We have seen that the most efficient way to use man's energies is
to allow him to follow habit lines of thought and action, and that
the highest efficiency is reached when these habits are habits of
concentration of attention and are restricted to the smallest
variety of work.
Progressive energy is so valuable that it needs no praise at this
time. We have had its value stated so often that it is actually
over-rated in the average mind. Not that it has been over-valued,
but that the reiteration has obscured the importance of other
qualities. There should be a greater appreciation of the value of
energies that are wholly employed in accomplishing results by old
means and methods.
Progressive energy, when it is kept within certain bounds, is a
prime asset of an industrial organization. It is like a wholesome
amount of labor to man; it may be drawn upon without loss, and its
use actually strengthens its source. But when it is not wisely
kept in control it only annoys and interferes with real progress
and real accomplishment of results.
The only way to get work done is to let the worker move along
habit lines. The only way to progress efficiently is to make the
new ways and means lead off gradually from those in use.
The progressive man who actually directs work along such lines is
the most valuable to the world. The one who ignores the "moment of
inertia" is a disturber, whether he is a director or a "hewer of
wood and carrier of water".
The man who is doing the real work in the world is not the
so-called progressive. He is one who points out newer or better
methods which may be easily established by a gradual exchange of
old habits for new ones.
Profit by Experience.
In considering ways and means for efficient management of
industrial organizations, it is not necessary to commence at the
beginning of each plant. The method of dealing with the problems
of existing plants is also applicable to new organizations, for a
new organization is only new in a limited sense. It uses men of
experience. It uses existing machines and implements. It follows
existing methods of conducting business and in the general
management of its affairs.
Even the so-called new method which may be the center around which
the so-called new business is built contains very little that is
new. The newest things in the ordinary industrial world contain
many old and well-known elements. The very use of a so-called
new method or machine as a center around which to build an
organization is in itself so old that it is a confirmed habit with
us to be lured on to investing in such things by the statement
that some new process or means is to be employed.
A really new thing that calls for wholly new ways and new means
for manufacture is almost inconceivable. The nearer we approach to
newness in the industrial world the thinner becomes the ice on
which we are moving. Therefore, let us know that when we advise
following habit lines in all moves in management of an existing
organization we imply that the same course should be taken in
establishing a new company or organization.
In both cases we should employ existing ways and means,
experienced men and well-tried implements. Both old and new should
be conducted along the usual line in conformity with the state of
the art, the habits of the workers, and other conditions
indigenous to the locality. Any scheme of going contrary to the
existing customs and usage must be entered into with full
knowledge of the great need of patience, force and courage to
offset the barrier of inertia.