My wife and I both do the dishes; not at the same time but we alternate here and there. Our goal and outcome is the same, but the way we get there is totally different.


The first thing is that my wife uses washcloths to clean the dishes. I use a brush because I don’t like touching things all that often.

The second thing is that she washes multiple utensils at the same time, whereas I wash each utensil separately.

The third thing is that she puts the utensils in the drain with the usable side up, whereas I always have it pointing downward.

The fourth thing is that she likes to let pots and pans soak before she washes them, whereas most of the time I don’t do that because I’m using a brush. I might have to scrub it a few times on occasion but I’m good.

The fifth thing is that she never puts on gloves to do dishes. I’m about 50-50; I might have issues. lol

The sixth thing is that after she washes pots and pans she puts them in the drain to dry. I always give them a quick wipe and either put them on the stove top, which is where we keep the items we use often, or immediately put them in the cabinet so they’re out of the way.

The final thing is that she’s fairly controlled while she’s washing dishes. I always end up with water all over the place, especially all over me. I’m always trying to figure out how I got so wet but it’s obviously my norm.

With all these differences, it’s almost amazing to think that we have the same goals and achieve the same outcome, but we do. We both want all the dishes washed and cleaned and eventually put away. It starts and ends with the same result, even if our process deviates in many ways.

I’m a big proponent of policies and procedures when it comes to making sure everyone doing the same thing to achieve the same results. I’m also rational enough to know that no two people are going to do everything in the same way.

That’s why, when I was in a position of leadership, I worked hard to make sure everyone knew what the department goals were and the expected outcomes. After that, I left everyone to figure out their own way of achieving the results that were expected of them.

I had employees who were fast but made errors. I had some who were deliberate and slow but accurate. I had some who compartmentalized the work so they could do a little bit of everything on a daily basis instead of working on one potentially boring thing all day.

I didn’t care. I didn’t micromanage; I only wanted the results I needed for us to reach our monthly objectives.

Unless you’re building nuclear bombs, it doesn’t always have to be about process. Even when specific things are needed, there’s almost always enough room for latitude so employees can comfortably get their job done. You never know if there’s a way to innovate something without giving others the freedom to explore what they’re doing.

If things aren’t what you need them to be you can always put restrictions back on or ramp up training to get everyone back on the same page. More consistent feedback might be all you need to rectify the situation when problems occur.

Otherwise, set the goals, training people on how to reach those goals, then leave them alone. If my wife tried changing how I do dishes I might stop doing them; then where would we be? 🙂
 

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