For a parallel in business, Cyrus H. McCormick might be named. The inventor of the reaper and builder of the first American business which covered the world was not a man of extraordinary intellect, wit, or judgment. He had, however, the will and power to focus his attention on a single question until the answer was evolved. Again and again, his biographers tell us, he pursued problems which eluded him far into the night and he was frequently found asleep at his desk the morning following. When roused, instead of seeking rest, he addressed his task again and usually overcame his obstacle before leaving it.
All these considerations point to one conclusion. It is quite certain, then, that most of us are whiling away our days and occupying positions far below our possibilities. A corollary to this statement is Mr. Taylor's conclusion that ``few of our best-organized industries have attained the maximum output of first-class men.''
_Not to give too wide application to his discovery that the average day's work is only half or less than half what a first-class man can do, it is more than probable that the average man could, with no injury to his health, increase his efficiency fifty per cent_.
We are making use of only part of our existing mental and physical powers and are not taxing them beyond their strength. Increased accomplishments, and heightened efficiency would cultivate and develop them, would waken the latent powers and tap hidden stores of energy within us, would widen the fields in which we labor and would open up to us new and wider horizons of honorable and profitable activity.
In succeeding chapters will be described specific methods, many of which are employed by individual firms, but which could be utilized by other business men, to insure their own efficiency and that of their employees. The experiences of many successful houses will be linked to the laws of psychology to point the way that will bring about greater results from men.
AS A MEANS OF INCREASING HUMAN EFFICIENCY
TWENTY years ago the head of an industry now in the million-a-month class sat listening to his ``star'' salesman. The latter, in the first enthusiasm of discovery and creation, was telling how he had developed the company's haphazard selling talk and had taken order after order with a standard approach, demonstration, and summary of closing arguments. To prove the effectiveness of ``the one best way,'' he challenged his employer to act as a customer, staged the little drama he had arranged, secured admissions of savings his machine would make, ultimately cornered the other, and sold him.
``That's great,'' the owner declared the in-
stant he had surrendered to the salesman's logic. ``If we can get all our agents to learn and use this new method of yours, we'll double our business in three years.''
Then followed discussion of the means by which the knowledge could be spread.
``I've got it,'' the manager announced at last. ``I'll telegraph five or six men to come in''--he named the agents within a night's ride of the factory--``and you can show them how you sold fifteen machines last week.
``We could take down your talk in shorthand and send it to them, but that wouldn't do the business. I want them to watch you sell, to study how you make your points, how you introduce yourself, how you get your man's attention, how you bring out his objections and meet them, how you lead up to the signing minute, and show him where to sign. _*What you say_ is about half the trick: _*how you say it_ is the convincing part--the thing the slowest man in the force by watching you can learn more quickly than the smartest could work out at home.''
The result of that conference was one of the earliest organized training schools for salesmen in the country. It was an unconscious, but none the less certain, utilization of the instinct of _*imitation_ for increasing the efficiency in employees.