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Be Eclectic and Not Only Specific!

Be Eclectic and Not Only Specific!

In the science fiction world, Robert Heinlein is considered by many to be the Father of Sci-Fi Writing. With good reason: he wrote a lot of science fiction and all his novels and stories have a lot of variety to offer in terms of theme, plot and character. And let’s not forget location, for his stories take place not only on Earth but all over the galaxy—ours and several others!

Most of all, like his quotation in the meme above, Heinlein was eclectic.

Thus, I have taken Robert Heinlein as an inspiration in how I operate my business as well as my life. In this world where everyone is seemingly a French pastry chef, defense litigation secretary, molecular (but not atomic) physicist, foot or hand doctor, baseball left fielder (but never right field!), red wine expert, English-speaking-only diplomat, Olympic curler, McDonald’s but never Burger King aficionado and a reader of fantasy but never sci-fi novels, I like to consider myself eclectically open to all these different vocations and activities.

Why? Simple: “Variety is the spice of life!”

Another reason is variety and eclecticness open up more neural pathways in the brain (increasing awareness and intelligence), allow people to be less limited in what they know and can do, and tend to replace narrow mindedness and shortsightedness with broadmindedness and open mindedness.

How do we apply this at work and at your company, you might ask? And thus, benefit us professionally and not only personally? Also simple: through a process called “cross-training.” Thus, when my secretary calls in sick, my receptionist can sit in and do her job if needed. When someone needs swimming or surfing lessons, CPR or first aid, or even instruction on the subject of sea-sun-surf Zen, a lifeguard can provide all these with equal skill and zeal! For as everyone knows, lifeguards are very eclectic.

Maybe no one can really replace your trusted personal secretary, lifelong company accountant or wise and witty office manager. But the notion of “temporary substitution” has been around for ages, and it works.

By cross-training employees to wear different vocational hats and proficiently handle diverse skill sets, your business can avoid global panic and collapse the next time key employees contract rabies and don’t show up on Monday.

For I believe it’s true: specification is for insects. And a smooth-running, successful business is run and kept operating by a well-trained staff of cross-trained employees who may or may not be sci-fi aficionados!

1 Comment

  • Patrick P. Stafford

    July 17, 2019 12:25 am

    This is totally true and totally right-on!