If they notice anything that is better than what we have as to the output of work, we imitate it by following their methods.
``3. We have not made a practice of bringing to the attention of our employees the lives of successful men or the work of successful houses.
``4. We keep standard models of the different kinds of work in plain view of the men. If there is any doubt in their minds, they can study these models.
``5. We have observed a pronounced in-
crease in the work of our shops, due to imitation, since in lining up our organization we put the most competent men we have at the head. Their influence over the men in their charge increases the work, as there is no question that a good leader is imitated by the men, and the company is benefited by this imitation.''
_Judged by the results of the investigation the most common use of imitation is in the training or ``breaking in'' of new employees. The accepted plan is to pick out the most expert and intelligent workman available and put the new man in his charge_.
By observing the veteran and imitating his actions, working gradually from the simpler operations to the more complex, the beginner is able to master technic and methods in the shortest possible time. The psychological moment for such instruction, of course, is the first day or the first week. New men learn much more readily than those who have become habituated to certain methods or tasks; not having had time or opportunity to experi-
ment and learn wrong methods, they have nothing to unlearn in acquiring the right. They fall into line at once and adopt the stride and the manner of work approved by the house.
This is the specific process by which the most advanced industrial organizations develop machine hands and initiate skilled mechanics into house methods and requirements. It has been largely used by public service corporations--street-car motormen and conductors, for instance, learning their duties almost entirely by observation of experienced men either in formal schools or on cars in actual operation. Many large commercial houses give new employees regular courses in company methods before intrusting work to them; the instructor is some highly efficient specialist, who shows the beginner _*how_ to get output and quality with the least expenditure of time and energy. The same method has been adapted by leading manufacturers of machines, who call their mechanics or assemblers together at intervals and have the most
expert among them show how they conduct operations in which they have attained special skill.
_In the training of salesmen imitation has received its widest application in teaching new men the elements of salesmanship; in showing them how to make the individual sale; in giving old men the best and newest methods--all by imitation_.
Not only is the recruit to the selling ranks in formal schools given repeated examples of the most effective ways to approach customers, to demonstrate the house goods and secure the order; but the more progressive companies, after this preliminary instruction, assign him to a training ground where he accompanies one of the company's best salesmen and merely observes how actual sales are made. Then the new man is sent out alone; usually he fails to secure as large an order as the house wants. Again the star salesman takes him in hand, analyzes the student's approach and demonstration, points out their weaknesses and, going back with the new man,
makes the right kind of approach and secures a satisfactory order. For the beginner this is the most vivid lesson in salesmanship; he cannot but model his next selling effort on the lines proved so effective.
The use of imitation, however, is carried further. In the monthly or semiannual district conventions of salesmen which most big organizations call, the newest and most effective selling methods are staged for the instruction both of new men and veterans. The district leader in sales, for example, or the man who has closed an order by a new or unusual argument is pitted against a salesman equally able, and the whole force sees how the successful man secured his results.