_Educational trips to other factories were employed by several firms to stimulate mental alertness and the instinct of imitation in their men. These trips usually supplemented some sort of suggestion system for encouraging employees to submit to the management ideas for improving methods, machines, or products_.
Cash payments were made for each suggestion
adopted, quarterly prizes of ten to fifty dollars were awarded for the most valuable suggestions; and finally a dozen or a score of the men submitting the best ideas were sent on a week's tour of observation to other industrial centers and notable plants. In some instances the expense incurred was considerable, but the companies considered the money well spent. Not only were the men making helpful suggestions the very ones who would observe most wisely and profit most extensively from such educational trips, but they would bring back to their everyday tasks a new perspective, see them from a new angle, and frequently offer new suggestions which would more than save or earn the vacation cost.
Business managers, it was made plain, are coming more and more to depend upon imitation as one of the great forces in securing a maximum of efficiency without risking the rupture or rebellion which might follow if the same efficiency were sought by force or by any method of conscious compulsion. Tactfully suggested, the examples for imitation will
lead men where no amount of argument or reasonable compensation will drive them. I am therefore led to suggest the following uses of imitation for increasing the efficiency of the working force.
In breaking in new recruits they should be set to imitate expert workmen in all the details possible.
Gang foremen and superintendents should always be capable of ``showing how'' for the sake of the men under them.
The better workmen should, where possible, be located so that they will be observed by the other employees.
Inefficient help should be avoided since the example of the less efficient should become the model for the larger group.
Educational trips or tours of inspection should be regularly encouraged for both workmen and superintendents.
The deeds of successful houses should be brought to the attention of employees.
Where conditions admit, pacemakers should be retained in various groups to key up the other men.
Favorable conditions should be provided for conscious and instinctive imitation for all the members of the plant.
Persons who are sociable and much liked are imitated more than others, and if efficient, are particularly valuable; but if inefficient, are especially detrimental to others.
At the formal and informal meetings of the men of a house or a department, demonstrations of how to do certain definite things are very interesting and helpful to all concerned. Demonstrations should be more common.
AS A MEANS OF INCREASING HUMAN EFFICIENCY
THIRTY years ago American steel makers were astonishing the world with new production records. What English ironmasters, intrenched in their supremacy for centuries, had regarded as a standard week's output for Bessemer converters, their young rivals in mills about the Great Lakes were doubling, trebling, and even further increasing. Hardly a month passed without a new high mark and a shift in possession of the leadership.
To this remarkable increase in efficiency William R. Jones--``Captain Bill'' Jones as he was familiarly known--contributed more than any other operating man. He was a genius among executives as well as an inventor
of resource and initiative--a natural leader and handler of men. When he was asked by the British Iron and Steel Institute in 1881, to explain the reasons for the amazing development in the United States, he attributed it to organization spirit of the workmen and the rivalry among the various mills.
``So long as the record made by a mill stands first,'' he wrote, ``its workmen are content to labor at a moderate rate.