Does shouting louder or giving them bigger shovels get the job done?

I am inspired for my thought for today by a recent coaching engagement. The discussion centred around process and the right tools for the job. We agreed that shouting louder might get you some results the first day but would not motivate the team in the longer term.

Many of you will have heard of Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management. Before his research work in the early 1900’s at Bethlehem Steel Mills in the US, the approach to increasing output was to ‘give them bigger shovels’. Taylor noted that no matter what the size or weight that was to be shovelled there was a ‘One Size Fits All’ shovel. His research was able to show that there was an ideal weight of 21.5 pounds for a shovel however the size should vary depending on the load to be moved. His methods quadrupled the productivity at the mill. What would you give for that kind of improvement today? Taylor realised the problem was not the workers; it was the process, and the tools.