Management Techniques: Two Coats of Paint

Peter Harrington at the Small Business Blog has a great anecdote that really hit the point on the nose for us.  Small Businesses are tight ships that may or may not have an HR department, and even when they do, the ability to handhold new employees during training often just isn’t possible.  But Harrington had these wise words:

…my first day in a job at a Cumbrian Outdoor Centre. I was as green as they come but very keen to prove myself. Before being assigned any jobs I followed my supervisor outside where there stood a huge wooden veranda. Once there I was told that whenever I didn’t have any assigned work I was expected to give the extensive structure two coats of paint.

I have never forgot that task, which I thoroughly enjoyed. A few years later and when I was growing my first business I always found a ‘paint the fence’ task for every new recruit so they could work independently on something that was entirely theirs, whilst simultaneously giving all other staff free time to think and work.


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