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Teaching an Old John new tricks.

Being older doesn’t mean that you get left behind.

Let me tell you a story, about a man named John…

64 years old, father of 3, married to Angela for a wonderful 45 years. He started doing cost control before they even had a job title for it. Back then it was different, everything was “handmade” not like today where it is a rarity to see something that was made with sweat, tears and hard labour. Generation X, Y, Z, Millennials… he has seen them all and heard all their complaints.

He was hoping for a change of pace when he retired at the age of 60 but found that there was always that need to do something more than sit and watch reruns and work in the garden. So he joined Anton and his team at the paper factory. Anton knew his son Richard and when Richard said his father needed something to keep him busy, Anton saw an opportunity to learn from this “Old John” and gain access to the fast knowledge and experience that was locked up in the folds of time.

The only drawback to John, he had his own way of doing things, if he could have had a typewriter he would have used it to write his reports, this would make any task that was given to him delayed in its delivery. With all the technology today it is difficult to keep up with all the changes and ways of doing simple tasks even faster and more efficient. John always believed that there is a fundamental difference between being Efficient (Doing the Job Right) and being Effective (Doing the Right Job Right) and he believed himself to be the latter.

Anton said that they would be attending a WorkingSm@rt workshop the following week… John’s immediate reaction was thinking that he has been on hundreds of workshops to teach you how to organise your life, save time, plan your day, Covey, Maslow, Andrews… he has seen it all and heard it all… needless to say, John was not excited about having to go through this again.

“WorkingSm@rt, bah, what could they teach me, I have been working for all of my life and I know how to do my job, there is going to be nothing useful for me in this workshop” John mumbled to Jeffrey during lunch “How does he expect me to learn anything?” “I already am the most efficient worker that he has, no offence Jeff.”

The weekend was spent complaining to Angela and arguing that he doesn’t need to learn anything because he already knew everything. Besides he has been in business for longer than Anton has lived…

Workshop Day: grumpy and mumbling under his breath. John sits and listens, leaning forward, taking notes, what is happening… A lifetime of bad habits: sub-folders, distractions, planning incorrectly, job stress, of being reactive to your workload and not always knowing what you really should be doing… why had he not heard of these people before, they really are productivity and effectiveness experts. John realised that he had never, on any of the other workshops, been told How to Manage his workload and in all his years of being efficient, he had actually learnt some techniques today that he could apply immediately after the workshop. He realised that Priority Management had just changed the way that he would approach everything in his life.

Even at his age, and this close to retiring again John had learnt something and it just goes to show, that you really Can – Teach an “Old John” new tricks…. – Humans in 1000 years How fast will we need to adapt to things that are constantly changing… how fast can we change?

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