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Two men in a quarry are hewing stone blocks from the quarry wall. A stranger happens by and asks the first man what he is doing. The reply: "I'm breaking rocks out of this damned wall, what does it look like?" The stranger approaches the other man with the same question. The second worker's answer: "I am building the new cathedral." One has a job, the other commitment and a vision.
This story illustrates the importance of employees to any organization, for it is employees-not management-who make the ultimate difference. If all the top brass happen to call in sick one day, orders can be filled, customers can be satisfied, deadlines still can be met. If all the employees happen to call in sick one day, we are either in a complete productivity vacuum or left watching the spectacle of the CEO trying to figure out how to operate a tape gun.
All the strategies and complicated management theories in the world won't help us if our best employees leave us for the competition, or if those who remain lack the tools and will to rise above mediocrity. Ultimately, a manager's success is wholly dependent upon his ability to empower others to achieve his goals. Tip #1 Stop looking for home run hitters, start building singles hitters.
Many current management theorists applaud the idea of developing company heroes: the star, the super performer who towers above …