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Shoveling Sand

Encouraging participation in Desk and Derrick is the most effective thing a good manager can do to build morale and to increase productivity. There is nothing that I know of that can return more to the business and to the employee. Let me give you an example.

You could give a worker a shovel, a sand pile, and a stack of bags and ask her to fill the bags with sand. Or you could take a worker to the river to observe it rising toward a flood, and then give the worker a shovel, a sand pile, and a stack of bags. There is no question which worker would fill more sand bags. The difference is motivation that comes from understanding. Understanding why filling bags with sand is important and how it fits into the larger picture.

Quite simply:

  • People want to contribute.
  • Motivated people contribute at a higher level.
  • Seeing the big picture results in a better product.

That is exactly what the educational arm of Desk and Derrick does. By giving its members the opportunity to get out into the field, it gives them a thorough overview of how the oil and gas business works. A broader knowledge of how the industry works provides insight into the importance of their own job to the success of the company, and just as important, an understanding of the importance of cooperation and teamwork. It illustrates clearly why we are shoveling sand.

For that reason alone, supporting employee participation in Desk and Derrick is a business decision that pays dividends in productivity and in quality of product. But there are other benefits of Desk and Derrick.

The nature of Desk and Derrick provides growth opportunities. Participation facilitates developing or improving networking skills, leadership skills, and honing the business communication skills of public speaking, business writing, and teamwork. I have seen first-hand that employees bring these skills back to the workplace to the benefit of their team and the company.

Desk and Derrick is an efficient tool for facilitating high morale, greater productivity, and an improved team product. It provides a great return for very small investment. So don't be a sand bag. Encourage and support participation in Desk and Derrick.

John V. White
Vice President Aviation
Valero Energy Corporation