By louis
Published: December 15, 2007
Many, many years ago, and far, far away, there was an ogre named Dummkopf. Dummkopf owned a carriage repair shop. The shop had been fairly busy in the past, but the kingdom was in the midst of a recession and now business was off. Dummkopf knew it was not his fault, but he just barely making a living. Soon he was running low on money, and had to lay a few of his workers off. This was pretty bad and really bothered him, but at least he knew it wasnít his fault, it was the recession. After all there were other carriage repair shops that were slow and plenty of other businesses in the kingdom that were even worst off than his.

Now there were businesses doing well also, and some carriage repair shops among them. Dummkopf reasoned, they were just lucky, or something was different about their part of the kingdom. Besides, how do I know theyíre really doing better than me? They may just be bragging, he reasoned. Sometimes Dummkopf would read about ideas, other ogres had tried and had success with, but this wasnít for him. These ideas were far-fetched, they could never work and would likely only make things worst.

Other ogres listened to the ideas, and even added their own. The shops that did were doing much better because of it. Dummkopf really didnít like it when the other ogres listened to these ideas. As miserable as he was, it was somehow easier knowing others were doing badly as well. The thought scared him that others might start doing better and leave him behind.

Some ogres said, we really need to improve the system of carriage repair. They continued, it produces less than satisfactory results at high cost. We need to start using modern methods to lower cost and provide new and better services. Others said yes, and we need to learn how to manage our shops so that we can pay workers more and still make a profit. We need to remove things that keep our workers from cooperating in the improvement. We need to look for ways to make things better.

Perhaps if we clean up our swamp, so that it is no longer a swamp. That may make it look more presentable so that clients are no longer scared to bring us their carriages. They also reasoned the very poor public image of their trade was a problem. It would be better to clearly differentiate themselves from the ogres that wished to cling to the old ways.

The ogres that were able to learn and change flourished. They were able to attract and retain the best ogre technicians. They had clean modern, well equipped carriage repair shops. Their clients were no longer terrified by bait and switch tactics. They eliminated specials that were merely a come-on for up sells and other unprofessional methods. Their clients began to realize there really is an alternative to just buying a new carriage. Itís actually enjoyable to have my carriage repaired, now that I trust the shop doing it, the clients exclaimed!

The enlightened ogres had all the carriages they could repair. Through efficiency and continual improvement they were able to do much higher quality repair. They could offer fair price because of lower cost and still earn a fair profit. The ogre technicians were happy too, because now they trusted management and management trusted them. They cooperated now and worked for continual improvement, and everyone made more money. They accomplished much more in a day, not worrying about having to manipulate the system to make a living. They actually started enjoying their jobs.

I donít know if it was leaving the swamps, the joy they now found in their work, or the respect they gained from clients after becoming professionals. Soon they found they were no longer ogres at all. They were the same as all other professionals in the kingdom.

What about Dummkopf? Well, whenís the last time you saw an ogre?

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