Monday, May 14, 2007

Type of company - part 1

I wonder when is it started that people are looking for specialized worker. Might be at Toyota's idea. But then, from what I read, Toyota enforces long life training and human development quite well.

Here is what I think happen in some company. In order to bump up the so called productivity, jobs are specialized into a department. Added with slow promotion + low chances to learn something else in that department, the value of the employee will be greatly diminished. A specialized job without variation and urge + effort by the company (and the employee of course) to let the employee develop themselves will create a pine tree type of employee.. thus, a pine tree company. This type of company grows nowhere but 1 single direction. It provides beauty since it might be efficient, but it doesn't provide shelter for anyone. The employee should be able to master the technical skill easily and the departments might be highly efficient. However, once that employee is not there, the entire department might stop to function simply because the job is too specialized and no one else can understand and/or do that person's job. Thus, the inherent risk of specializing.

On the other hand, learning and value adding depends on the employee as well. One must show a great wish to learn. One must also have the progressive thinking mind, being innovative and creative. Process and procedures can always be improved, slowly perhaps, if not, radically. Only when an employee and the company sinergizes that a company can flourish and multiply.

The way out for pine tree type of company is to allow under study and job rotation. Allowing one department's staff to under study under other department's staff would break the specializing barrier without compromising the technical specialties. The study should be limited to the specific purpose of improving inter-department communication and understanding how to perform the basic function of other department. Such attempt would then allow higher understanding and inter-department communication allowing simple task to be redirected and perhaps, to enable employee grooming. It'd ease the talent spotting and perhaps spur the slow "talent manifesting" employee to add value to oneself and perform well above expectations.

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