A light bulb Manufacturing Company hired a consultant to analyze the cause of continuing problems amongst its various divisions. The management suspected communication issues and the consultant was asked to focus specifically on this aspect. The consultant went into the plant and started by spending some time asking a few key questions of a number of employees.
The first question he started with was “Why are you here?”
The first person he posed this question was to the Manager. The manager replied that he was there to make sure the supervisors are doing their jobs.
The same question when asked from the Supervisor was replied with the answer that he was there to make sure the employees were doing their jobs properly.
The Receptionist responded by saying “I’m here to greet people, do invoicing, and answer the phone.”
The Truck driver answered the consultant that he was there to make deliveries.
However, when the consultant questioned the Machine operator on the shop floor, the answer he got was, “I am here to make light bulbs.”
The consultant, in his report to the president, reported that the reason of miscommunication was because no one except one person knew exactly WHY he/she was there in the organization.
The president got confused and asked the consultant to explain his findings. The consultant explained; the company is in the business of making light bulbs and every single employee of the company contributes in making them. So, the main reason why every employee is there in the company is to make light bulbs. When this thing was asked from the employees, almost all described their jobs from a technical perspective and seemed to have lost the main purpose of their being there which was making the best light bulbs available in the market.
Only one person he interviewed, the machine operator, had the company’s mission in focus. He understood that he was making the best light bulbs anywhere and his contribution was made by doing his job well and understanding it in relation to the WHY; which is the larger picture.
The consultant summed up by telling the president that he must ensure that all employees understand the company’s mission and service, and work together to achieve that. Only when they do this will the communication amongst all the employees and the departments be improved.