Nyall was efficient—unusually efficient—but he did not give satisfaction with the White Rapids Motor Company. Perhaps we do not need to point to the moral of this tale. If Nyall had understood his superior and had conducted himself accordingly, he might himself have been president and general manager of the White Rapids Motor Company to-day. He would have known that Burton was not a man to be brow-beaten, not a man to be defied, not a man to be proven in the wrong. With a little tact and diplomacy, he could have effected all of the changes he wished without even the semblance of a clash with his chief. He might even have insisted upon the first ones he advocated without serious trouble if he had done it in the right way and if he had not permitted his feeling of personal triumph to show itself so plainly.
In the first place, if he had known Burton as he should, he would have gone to him before making any changes and said: “Mr. Burton, I understand that you have given a great deal of time and thought to the routing of work through the factories; that you have personally directed the building up of the present system. I usually begin my work by studying the routing, but if you feel satisfied with this routing, as a result of your study; and experience, I will devote my time to something else.” Approached in this way, Burton would unquestionably have directed the new works manager to make a complete study of the routing system and to suggest any possible improvements.
This story is typical of many others which we have observed more or less in detail. Nyall was a great success in the Swift Motor Company because the chief executive of that company was a little mild, good-natured, easy-going fellow, who not only needed the spur and stimulus of a positive nature like Nyall’s, but was quite frankly delighted with it. If Nyall had approached him with questions and suggestions and a spirit of constant bowing to his authority, he would have been as exasperated in his own quiet way as Burton was with the opposite treatment. His constant injunction to his subordinates was: “Do not come to me with details. Use your own judgment and initiative. Go ahead. Do it in your own way. I hold you responsible only for results.”
In his “Message to Garcia,” Elbert Hubbard has the following to say:
“You, reader, put this matter to a test:
“You are sitting now in your office—six clerks are within call. Summon any one of them and make this request: ’Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio.’
“Will the clerk quietly say, ‘Yes, sir,’ and go do the task?
“On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions: