Rule 15 - We Are All Paid To Think

Rule 15 - We Are All Paid To Think 2min read

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. – Henry Ford

Back in the day, when I was going through University I worked as a labourer from time to time for a good friend of mine Cam. Cam ran his own building company and I did occasional work when business was busy or an extra pair of hands was needed to hold a nail.

One day over lunch, after a typical physical morning labouring Cam asked me "how I was going?". I gave the usual “Good”. Which he followed up with “so, what do you like about the job?”. My reply, “I like that I don’t have to think, I can put my head down and do my job. And before I know it the day is over”. Cam's reply has stuck with me to this day, almost 20 years later, “wrong! I pay you to think. I expect you to think.”

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought. – Henri Bergson

It is something I bring up in my own way when talking to the girls building the project. It does not take a four year degree to think. Just because an engineer has been to University does not mean they have the answer. I remind them of the lesson I was taught, that no mater your role we are all paid to think.

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. – George S. Patton

We all have a unique view — perspective — and we are all paid to think for ourselves. Some people do not want to think, some do not believe they are smart enough.  As a manager you need to create an environment where thinking is acknowledged and rewarded. It is hard to get free thinking out of mindless robots, out of people that are micro managed. So take the time to explain why the task they are doing is important, how it fits into the big picture and take every opportunity up-skill and reward people that are self motivated, consciousness and want to be there.

I have always found that the man whose second thoughts are good is worth watching. – James M. Barrie

Check out the The Engineering Rule Book for the other rules.

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