“So, if morale suddenly improved as the speed of the line improved, what do you think changed? What changed inside their heads?” I asked. Emily and I were talking about her production line’s sudden improvement in both speed and attitude. She mulled the question over.
“Remember, before, we were talking about competence and incompetence,” she was thinking out loud. “I didn’t believe you when you said the problem was incompetence. But now, I see such an improvement, I think you were right.”
“So, what changed inside their heads?” I asked again.
“Before, they didn’t know the daily target number. That single number became a tool for them to get better. They became more competent.”
“They are on their way to mastery,” I said. That word mastery hung out there like a full moon. Inescapable.
“I never thought of it that way.”
“Put the two together.”
“Competence and mastery,” she said.
“Why do people perform at a high level?” I asked.
“Because they can,” she replied. “Give them the tools to become competent and you will see progress.” Emily smiled. It was beginning to sink in.
“At least, that is half the story,” I announced.
“There’s more?” Emily asked.