Engineering the Digital Civilization

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Saturday, 5 September 2020

Trust only the Competent

 Arcad had struggled hard and saved up 10% of wealth every month as instructed by Algamish, he had finally saved up a fortune that he could invest in and earn from it. Arcad then had his friend Agar, the brickmaker who was traveling to the far lands to buy rare jewels that they both could sell and divide the profits. Instead of rare jewels Agar was tricked and handed pieces of glass & bits of stones that had no value.

Unfortunately, Arcad who had struggled hard and denied himself of the luxuries for saving up a fortune was left with no return on his investment. It was a bitter loss that he wouldn't forget.

This is a great example from the book "The richest man in Babylon" by George S Clason which exemplifies the essential condition to trust only the competent for getting the stuff done. You won't trust an account in the matters of your health.

It is a general practice and I would also appreciate it, we give the opportunity to the people to try and become responsible. Like you might have seen in movies that a commander of an army gives the most important task to the hero of the movie who then gets the job done. It is essential to empower people to take up responsibility and develop skill but a leader should always make an attempt to develop a system wherein the risks associated to the tasks could be mitigated.

I also learn this the hard way, as a structural engineer I did design revision which my junior was supposed to do and I was supposed to check. As the revision was required on short notice and did not involve much of a change I decided to handle it and make the changes. The software we were using for this had many bugs, I did the modifications and as a procedure, I had asked a junior to check if everything was fine and in place.

The person whom I gave the task for checking was inexperienced as to what can go wrong with the outputs and had done the checking in the traditional way leaving out a simple check. By the way, I too missed to make the same check, but then what's the point of checking if the problems missed by one cannot be found by the other.

This simple problem went ahead and the client had reported this as poor work, now the entire management was and seeking the root cause of the error. If only I had asked some other person to check the outputs we could have saved us the trouble of going through the shame.

This chapter from the book gives an extremely important message that one should never forget, always trust the competent to get the stuff done. We have ample examples where inexperience & lack of knowledge has brought disasters. 

This instance of my life will always remind me to always trust a competent person or a competent system to get the task done.

Thanks for reading.  

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