Sunday’s sermon was about the workers and the vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16.
“A landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
Later, I reflected on the history of workers. Family businesses were very different 100 years ago. Businesses hired people daily. The Family Business the vineyard owner would go out into the market place in the morning and hire people for the day. Larger firms, would hire foreman, he would hire the workers and pay them out of his contracted price.
Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 – March 21, 1915) was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He was one of the first management consultants. Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movement and his ideas, broadly conceived, were highly influential in the Progressive Era (1890s-1920s). Taylor summed up his efficiency techniques in his 1911 book The Principles of Scientific Management which in 2001 Fellows of the Academy of Management voted the most influential management book of the twentieth century. His pioneering work in applying engineering principles to the work done on the factory floor was instrumental in the creation and development of the branch of engineering that is now known as industrial engineering.
The One Best Way
Day labors provided their own tools. One of Taylor’s breakthrough practices was providing the tools. Taylor was a foreman at a steel mill. The mill hired him and he hired the day workers. A typical day on Taylor’s crew consisted of two major activities. The morning work was moving iron ingots, small heavy rectangular blocks. The afternoon project was shoveling ashes out of the furnace. The day workers had their own shovels. You can imagine every size and shape, if the day laborers had small “coal shovels” the ingots were moved efficiently; but the afternoon shoveling ashes was inefficient, slow and wasted time, energy. Some of the crew had larger shovels, like snow shovels. Here the opposite was true, ingots were slow, wasteful and difficult; furnaces, ashes were quick and efficient. Frederick Winslow Taylor solved this problem by supplying the shovels. When he hired the day laborers he supplied the shovels, coal in the morning, and snow like in the afternoon.
The parable of Taylor’s work is there is one best way. Doing repetitive tasks are best done by using the same method time and time again. Golf swings, forward passes, manual production operations are best done thru repetition. The same way every time. Family business leaders might want to remember, that in this age of empowerment and individual thoughts doesn’t always work in today’s world. Follow the process, perform the task the same way and your business will improve.