Bathwater





I don’t know what your pandemic-workplace experiences have been. And I don’t know what “social impact issues” have surfaced (or have yet to surface) in your departments. These are “different” times based not only upon what I read; but also by what I hear. How about you?


You’ve got problems to solve, productivity to achieve, and quite often, turnover that makes it all even harder.


So, let’s talk about Bathwater. Bathwater has to do with an old story with a moral: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” The stress and pressure people are feeling right now, and the uncertainty of uncharted territory businesses are having to navigate through right now, make it too easy at times to consider just throwing our hands up in frustration. And then, just throw out everything and start over…with a great deal of despair. DON'T DO IT. You might be throwing out the baby too. Years ago, babies and small children were bathed in pans and buckets on the kitchen counter or on the back porch. Not only that, but the bathwater was often reused to eliminate having to refill. It got dirty. Older kids bathed first and babies last. Hence, small objects might get lost in the dirty water. So, before throwing everything out, stop long enough to make sure something of value didn’t get overlooked. There might be some “learning” to be had. There might be something surface unexpectedly.


In all seriousness, I had the pleasure of working with the R&D department of the company who had a set of file cabinets labeled “Oh, S…“. These files and notes were for things that were discovered unexpectedly. These things didn’t have a “home” yet but were recognized to have value.


Now, let me shift your thinking to the idea of investing your time and efforts into developing and training the people who report to you. People learn in different ways and at different paces. Some of your people have talents yet to be uncovered (undiscovered). In frustration, there may be times you want to start all over. But before you do, slow down long enough to reflect and review. Was there anything you did discover about the skills and potential of the person you had invested time and effort into? Could those talents be utilized for a mutually beneficial outcome?


When it comes to people, the ROI can make your effort well worth it. Sometimes, you will have no alternative but to recognize that the employee is unwilling to accept the challenge to reach their potential. Some might simply be lazy. And, some may not have the capacity to perform the necessary tasks. And, you invest in people until you can no longer afford to, But, before you have arrived at the “No Mas, No Mas” determination; be sure you strain the bathwater and be sure you have not overlooked an “unexpected something of value”.


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