Part 5 out of 8
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail!"
Perhaps the man who bore the title of rider ought to have been charged
with the duty of being there with that horseshoe nail, and the man who was
only a blacksmith's helper should have ridden the horse and saved the
battle and the kingdom.
INDICATIONS OF DETAIL AND NON-DETAIL APTITUDES
It ought not to be difficult for any man or woman to know whether or not
he or she is qualified for detail work. The man who enjoys detail and
takes pleasure in order, system, accuracy, and exactitude, down to the
last dot and hairline, ought to know that he is qualified for detail work
and has no business trying to carry on or manage affairs in which there is
a considerable element of risk as well as many variables. Strangely
enough, however, many of them do not know this, and over and over again we
find the detail man wearing himself into nervous prostration in the wrong
On the other hand, the man who hates routine, grows restive under
monotony, is impatient with painstaking accuracy and minute details, ought
to know better than to make himself--or to allow himself to be
made--responsible for them. And yet, nearly every day someone is coming to
us with a complaint about the monotony of his job--how he hates its
routine and how often he gets himself into trouble because he neglects or
overlooks some little thing.
It ought to be easy enough to tell the difference between these two
classes of workers. If you are a brunette, with fairly prominent brows and
somewhat sloping forehead, a chin prominent at the lower point and
receding upward toward the mouth; if your head is high and square behind;
if your fingers are long and square-tipped; if your flesh is elastic or
hard in consistency, then you can trust yourself to take responsibility
for things in which seeming trifles may be of the highest importance. If,
on the other hand, you are blonde or red-haired; if your head is round and
dome-shaped just above the temples and round behind; if your nose is
prominent and your chin narrow and receding at the lower point; if your
flesh is elastic, with a tendency toward softness; if your fingers are
short and either square or tapering, then you had better prepare yourself
for some vocation where you can deal with large affairs, where you can
plan and organize and direct, and let other people work out the details.
COURAGE AND RECKLESSNESS
The story is told of two soldiers going into battle. Both pushed forward
swiftly and eagerly. They were rapidly nearing the danger zone. Already
men were falling around them. As they went on, one suddenly looked at the
other. "Why," he cried, "your face is white, your eyes are glazed, your
limbs are trembling. I believe you are afraid!"
"Great God, man! of course I am afraid," replied the other. "And if you
were one-half as afraid as I am, you would turn and run."
Here we have the discrimination between real courage and mere
foolhardiness or recklessness. There are some vocations which require
courage. There are others which require an element of recklessness. It
requires courage to drive the locomotive of a railroad train at a speed of
eighty miles an hour, but it also requires caution, prudence,
watchfulness, and even apprehension.
In a western factory men were wanted for an important job, one in which a
moment's carelessness in the handling of levers might cost a dozen fellow
workmen their lives. "Find me," said the superintendent, "the most careful
men you can get. I do not want anyone dumping damage suits on the
company." The employment department found the very careful men, but none
of them were satisfactory; they were all so careful that they made no
speed, and soon had to be relieved for this reason, and because the
constant nervous strain was too much for them. Here was a kind of work
requiring a certain cool, calm, deliberate recklessness. Men were found
with steady nerves, keen eyesight, quick reaction time, and smooth
co-ordination of muscular action, together with a moderate degree of
cautiousness. These men liked the work for the very tingle of the danger
in it. They swung their ponderous machines to their tasks with a sureness
of touch and a swiftness of operation which not only delighted the
superintendent, but inspired confidence in their fellow workers.
INDICATIONS OF COURAGE AND CAUTION
If you are brunette, with small, sway-back or snub nose, narrow, rounded
chin, and a tendency to disturbances of the circulation; if your head is
narrow at the sides and high and square behind, look for a vocation where
caution is a prime requisite, but do not get yourself into situations
where you will have to fight or where there is so much risk that your
natural apprehensiveness will cause you to worry and lie awake nights.
Contrary wise, if your chin is broad and prominent, your head is wide
above the ears, low and round behind, and rather short; especially if you
are a blonde, with a large nose, high in the bridge, and a big rounded
dome just above the temples, select for yourself a vocation where success
depends upon a cheerful willingness to take a chance. You may blunder into
a tight situation now and then, and you will occasionally make a bad guess
and lose thereby, but you will not be inclined to worry and you will
greatly enjoy the give and take of the fight by means of which you will
extricate yourself from undesirable situations.
QUICKNESS OR SLOWNESS OF THOUGHT AND ACTION
If you are of the thoughtful, philosophical type, instead of the keen,
alert, practical type, don't attempt to win success in any vocation
requiring quick thought and quick decision. You like to reason things out;
you want to know why before you go ahead. Your success lies in lines which
require slow, thoughtful, careful reasoning, mature deliberation, and an
ability to plod diligently through masses of facts and arguments.
If, on the other hand, you are of the observant, practical,
matter-of-fact, scientific type, your vocation should be one calling for
quick thought, quick decision, ability to get the facts and to deal with
them, keen observation, and one not requiring too great a nicety of mental
If you have a small, round, retreating chin, beware of any vocation which
requires great deliberation in action, because you are very quick to act.
Your hands, once their task is learned, move very swiftly. You are
inclined to be impulsive. If your forehead is of the type which indicates
quick thinking and you have a large nose, high in the bridge, then you are
of the keenest, most alert, most energetic and dynamic type. No sooner do
you see a proposition than you decide. No sooner do you decide than you
act, and when you have acted, you want to see the results of that action
immediately. You are, therefore, unfitted for any vocation which requires
prolonged meditation, great deliberation in action, and a patient,
plodding willingness to wait for results.
If your chin is long, broad, and prominent at the point, your action will
always wait upon your thought. If your thought is quick, as indicated by
the sloping forehead, your action may follow very quickly, but never
impulsively. If, on the other hand, your forehead is one which indicates
reflection and slowness of thought, then you will be very deliberate,
postponing action in every case until you have carefully and painstakingly
thought the entire matter out. It is useless for anyone to try to rush you
to either decision or action, for you may have it in you to be quite
THE SOCIAL QUALITIES
Some time ago a splendidly educated young man came to us for advice. "What
I want to know more than anything else," he said, "is why Hugo Schultz
always sells more goods than I do. I spent two years in high school, four
years in a special preparatory school and four years in college. I have
had eight years of fairly successful business experience. For two years I
have been a traveling salesman. When I first started out my sales amounted
to only about $5 a day, on an average. Within a year I had pushed them up
to $1,000 a day, on an average, and now sometimes I sell $3,000 or $4,000
worth a day. With the exception of Hugo Schultz, I sell more goods than
any other man representing our company. If I sell $52,000 worth in a
month, Schultz sells $65,000 worth-yet Schultz has never been beyond the
fourth grade in school. He is ten years younger than I am, has had
practically no business experience, and has only been on the road one
Upon examination, we found that this young man was selling goods with a
splendidly trained intellect. He analyzed all the factors in his problem
carefully, even down to the peculiarities of every one of his customers.
He presented his goods with faultlessly worked out arguments and appeals
to the common sense and good judgment of his customers. He was, therefore,
more than usually successful. In answer to our inquiry, however, he said:
"No, I hate selling goods. The only reason I keep it up is because there
is good money in it--more money than I could make with the same amount of
effort in any other department of business. I do not like to approach
strangers. I have to lash myself into it every morning of my working life,
and it is very hard for me to be friendly with customers about whom I care
"What about Peter Schultz?" we asked. "Is he a good mixer?"
"It is his whole stock in trade. Now that you have called my attention to
it, I can see clearly enough that he takes delight in meeting strangers.
Why, even when he is off duty, he finds his recreation running around into
crowds, meeting new people, getting acquainted with them, making friends
with them. I see it all now. He sells goods on the basis of friendship. He
appeals to people's feelings rather than their intellects, and most people
are ruled by their feelings. I know that."
At our suggestion, this intellectual young man gave up his business career
altogether and turned his attention to journalism, where he has been even
more successful than he was as a salesman. Needless to say, Hugo Schultz
is still breaking records on the road.
It is difficult for anyone who is not by nature friendly and social to
succeed in a vocation in which the principal work is meeting, dealing
with, handling, and persuading his fellow men. There is an old saying
"that kissing goes by favor," and doubtless it is true that other valuable
things go the same way. People naturally like to do business with their
friends, with those who are personally agreeable to them. It takes a long
time for the unsocial or the unfriendly man to make himself personally
agreeable to strangers, or, in fact, to very many people, whether
strangers or not.
If it is hard for the unsocial and unfriendly man to work among people, it
is distressing, dull and stupid for the man who is a good mixer and loves
his friends to work in solitude or where his entire attention is engrossed
in things and ideas instead of people.
INDICATIONS OF SOCIAL QUALITIES
Notwithstanding these very clear distinctions and the seeming ease with
which one ought to classify himself in this respect, we are constantly
besieged by those who have very deficient social natures and who are
ambitious to succeed as salesmen, preachers, lawyers, politicians, and
There is plenty of work in the world which does not require one to be
particularly friendly, although, it must be admitted, friendliness is a
splendid asset in any calling. Scholarship, literary work, art, music,
engineering, mechanical work, agriculture in all its branches,
contracting, building, architecture, and many other vocations offer
opportunities for success to those who are only moderately equipped
If the unsocial and unfriendly are deceived in regard to themselves, no
less so are the social and the friendly. Again and again we find them in
occupations which take them out of the haunts of living men, where they
are so unhappy and dissatisfied that they sometimes become desperate. Why
a man who likes people and likes to be with them, and is successful in
dealing with them, should take himself off on a lonely ranch, twelve miles
from the nearest neighbor and twenty miles from a railroad, passes the
comprehension of all but those who, through experience, have learned the
picturesque contrariness of human nature.
It is easy to distinguish, at a glance, between the social fellow and the
natural-born hermit. Go to any political convention, or any convention of
successful salesmen, or to a ministers' meeting attended by successful
city preachers, or to any other gathering attended by men who have
succeeded in callings where the ability to mix successfully with their
fellow men is of paramount importance. Get a seat on the side lines, if
possible, and then study the backs of their heads.
THE HEADS OF POLITICIANS
We attended two great political conventions in 1912. There were more than
one thousand delegates at each convention. So certain were we of the type
of men successful enough politically to be chosen as delegates to a
national convention of their party, that we offered a prize of ten dollars
to the friends who accompanied us for every delegate they would point out
to us who did not have a round, full back-head, making his head appear
long directly backwards from the ears. Although our friends were skeptical
and planned in some detail as to what they would do with the money they
expected to win from us, we attended both conventions without a penny of
outlay for prizes. If you know any unfriendly, unsocial men, look at the
backs of their heads and see how short they are.
There are vocations for all who have the courage, the ambition, the
willingness to work, the persistence to keep ever-lastingly at it. Finding
one's true vocation in life means, not finding an easy way to success, but
finding an opportunity to work and work hard at something interesting,
something you can do well, and something in which your highest and best
talents will find an opportunity for their fullest expression.
Just as finding an unusual talent for music means years and years of the
most careful study and preparation, followed by incessant practice; just
as finding of a talent for the law means years of work in schools,
colleges and universities; so the finding of a talent for business,
mechanics, science, construction, or any other vocation involves years of
study, self-development, preparation, and practice, if you are to achieve
a worth-while success.
A HARD-LUCK STORY
The following incident illustrates plainly enough the mental attitude of
the average fellow--the reason why he has failed, and the remedy:
A man came into our office complaining of his luck.
He was on the gray and wrinkled side of the half-century mark, somewhat
bent, and slow of step.
This was the tune of his dirge:
"My life is a failure. I have never had a chance. My father was poor and
couldn't give me the advantages that other young men had. So I've had my
nose on the grindstone all my life long.
"See what I am to-day. While other men have made money and, at my age, are
well fixed, I am dependent on my little old Saturday night envelope to
keep me from starving. That wouldn't be so bad, but my employers are
beginning to hint that I'm not so lively as I was once and that a younger
man would fill the job better. It's only a question of time when I'll be a
leading member of the Down and Out Club. Then it'll be the Bay for mine."
Our friend, whom we call Mr. Socratic, butted into the conversation right
"Pretty tough luck!" he said. "Know any men of your age that are doing
"Sure, lots of 'em."
"What's the reason?"
"Well, they have had better luck."
"How do you mean? Investments turned out better?"
"No; I never had anything to invest."
"Well, they had advantages."
"What, for instance?"
"Why didn't you get an education?"
"Couldn't afford it."
"Had some income, didn't you?"
[Illustration: FIG. 49. Hon. Joseph Walker, of Massachusetts. Has good
degree of balance between practical and ideal tendencies. Is shrewd,
ambitious, determined, persistent, courageous, intellectual, oratorical,
dramatic, forceful, social, and optimistic. Excellent planner and schemer.
Note high, wide forehead, prominent at brows; keen, shrewd and determined
expression; high, wide head; height of head just above temples; square jaw
and chin; firm mouth; short upper lip, and well-built, prominent nose.]
[Illustration: FIG. 50. Hon. Lon V. Stephens, former Governor of
Missouri, keenly observant, intensely practical, rather serious, ambitious
energetic, courageous, friendly, far-sighted. A public speaker of some
dramatic ability. Note great prominence of forehead at brows, depressed
corners of eyes and mouth and tip of nose, high, long head, medium-short
upper lip, and prominent chin.]
[Illustration: _Photo by Paul Thompson_.
FIG. 51. Hon Oscar Underwood, United States Senator from Alabama.
Practical, energetic, ambitious, courageous, determined, enduring. Note
resemblance in profile and head shape to Figs. 48, 50, and 52, also
politicians. A public speaker with considerable dramatic talent.]
[Illustration: _Copyright by Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C._.
FIG. 52. Hon. Victor Murdock, Ex-Congressman, of Kansas. Practical, alert,
keen, ambitious, combative, courageous. Has considerable dramatic talent,
as shown by large nose, short upper lip and long, prominent chin. Compare
with Figs. 48, 50, and 51.]
[Illustration: FIG. 53. The late Robert C. Ogden, Merchant and
Philanthropist. A man of keen, practical, commercial judgment, high
ambition, great energy, strong determination, and strong sense of justice,
together with idealism, benevolence, optimism, and kindliness. Note large
development of brows; width of forehead across center; high head, domed
above temples; large, well-formed nose; long, straight upper lip;
straight, firm mouth, and poised, calm, kindly expression.]
[Illustration: FIG. 54. Prof. P.G. Holden, Agricultural Expert and
Teacher. A fine admixture of the physically frail and bony and muscular
type, hence his intellectual interest and ability in agriculture. Has
ambition, energy, and great social and friendly qualities. Note height and
length of head, development of brows, and size and contour of nose.]
[Illustration: FIG. 55. W. Nelson Edelsten, Insurance Special Agent.
Keen, observant, alert, ambitious, energetic, courageous, refined,
sensitive, emotional, enthusiastic, appreciative of approval, friendly.
Note prominence of brows, high head, large, well-formed nose, chin, and
ears, fine texture, high dome over temples, short upper lip, and alert,
high-strung, friendly expression.]
[Illustration: _Copyright by Harris & Ewing._
FIG. 56. Dr. Beverly T. Galloway, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture of
the United States. Same as FIG. 8. Note high crown large prominent nose;
very full backhead.]
"Yes, but only enough to live on."
"Had time to study, didn't you?"
"No--always had to work."
"What about your evenings? Have to work nights?"
"Had a pretty good time, didn't you?"
"Out with the fellows and the girls about every night?"
"Wore good clothes, smoked good cigars, hired livery rigs, took in good
shows, lived pretty well, shook dice a little, risked a few dollars on the
ponies now and then?"
"Oh, yes; I was no tight-wad."
"You had to be a good fellow, eh?"
"Sure, I am only going through this world once, so I have had a good time
as I've gone along."
"You couldn't have put in two or three nights a week studying and still
have had a good time?"
"Oh, I might have, I s'pose, but I didn't have the money to buy books."
"How much do you figure you spent, on an average, on those nights you were
out with the boys?"
"Oh, I don't know; sometimes a dime for a cigar, sometimes three or four
dollars for theater tickets, supper, and the trimmings."
"Well, would it average two bits?"
"Yes, I guess so; all of that. Maybe more."
"If you had saved that for two nights a week, it would have counted up
about two and a quarter a month. Buy a pretty good book for that, couldn't
"And if you had been buying books and studying them, going to
night-school, or taking a correspondence course all these years, you would
have had an education by now, wouldn't you?"
"Well, I don't know. Some men are born to succeed. They have more brains
"Who, for instance?"
"Well, there's Edison."
"Yes; and while you were having a good time with the boys, wearing good
clothes, and enjoying the comforts of life, Edison was working and
studying, wearing shabby clothes and patched shoes, so that he might buy
books. What right have you to say that Edison has a better head,
naturally, than you until you have done what Edison did to develop his?"
"Well, if you put it that way--none, I guess."
"Then you might have been an Edison if you had sacrificed, worked, and
studied as Edison did?"
"Then where does the 'hard luck' come in? While you were having a good
time, Edison was having a hard time. Isn't that so?"
"Yes, and now Edison is on Easy Street and I am headed for the Bay. I see
your point, Mr. Socratic. I guess it isn't luck, after all. It's my fault.
But knowing that won't make it any easier for me when I get canned."
"What's the use crossing the bridge before you get to it? I read the other
day of a man who studied law, was admitted to the bar, and made money on
it, all after he was seventy years old."
"Think there's any chance for me? Can I learn anything at my age?"
"You learned something just now, didn't you?" asked Socratic.
"Yes, I guess I did."
"Well, if you can learn one thing, you can learn a hundred, can't you?"
"I sure will."
If you are a worker and not a shirker--if you are a lifter and not a
leaner--if you have done your best to succeed in your present vocation,
and are still dissatisfied, and feel that you could do better in some
other line of work, we hope that this book has been of some assistance to
you in determining your new line.
If, however, you have never attempted your best--if you have never worked
your hardest--if you have grown weary, and laid down your burden in the
face of difficulties and obstacles--if you have neglected your education,
your training, your preparation for success, then, before you make a
change, before you seek vocational counsel, do your best to make good
where you are. It may be the one vocation in which you can succeed.
ANALYZING CHARACTER IN SELECTION OF EMPLOYEES
THE COST OF UNSCIENTIFIC SELECTION
People used to thank God for their sickness and pain--at the same time
naively praying Him to take back His gift. This inconsistency was due to a
combination of ignorance and the good old human foible of blaming some one
else. Folks did not know then, as well as they do now, that they had the
stomachache because they were too fond of rich dainties. The cause of the
pain being mysterious, they went back to first principles and blamed (or
thanked) God for it. They believed that God afflicted them for their good
and His glory, but their belief was hardly practical enough to keep them
from praying Him not to do them too much good or Himself too much glory.
Bodily ills are no different from our other troubles. In case of doubt as
to their origin, it is far more convenient to blame some supernatural
source for them than to take the blame upon ourselves. In support of this,
take the attitude of employers toward strikes and lockouts, their most
outbreaking and violent troubles. These are named in all of our contracts
along with lightning, tornadoes, floods, and other "acts of God," if not
directly, at least by inference It is plain enough, at any rate, that
those who draw up the contract consider strikes and lockouts as wholly
outside of their control, as they do the elements. It is the same old
ignorance, the same desire to shift the blame.
WHO IS TO BLAME?
Modern business common sense counts strikes and lockouts among preventable
industrial diseases, just as the modern science of medicine classes
smallpox, diphtheria, typhoid fever, the plague, tuberculosis, and the
hookworm amongst preventable bodily diseases. The strike is a violent
eruption, according to those who have made the closest study of the
situation, resulting from long-continued abuses of bad management, bad
selection, bad assignment of duties, and other vicious or ignorant
practices. So a fever is a kind of physical house cleaning for the removal
of debris of months or even years of foolish living.
But persistent violation of the laws of health does not always lead to
acute disease. Seated in the office of a prominent and successful
physician in a Western city one day, we were discussing with him the true
nature of disease. "My patients," said he, "many of them are now lying on
beds of pain, burning with fever. They are called sick people. The folks
walking along the street out there are called well people. The terms are
inaccurate. Fever is the effort of nature to throw off poisons, poisons
which have been accumulating in the system for years as the result of
wrong ways of living. Many people suppose that fevers are caused by germs.
This is not true. No germ can harm or disturb a healthy body. It is only
when the body is depleted in vitality that its defenses come down and
germs find a ready soil in which to propagate. People who have fevers,
therefore, are only taking a violent manner of getting well, and, if
wisely treated and intelligently nursed, they do get well. As you know, it
is a very common experience for a person to feel far better after recovery
from a spell of sickness than he has for years previously. Now, nine out
of ten of the people going along the street who call themselves well are
not well. The majority of them are probably only 25 per cent, efficient
physically. They are loaded up with the debilitating consequences of their
own recklessness or ignorant manner of living."
A PROLIFIC CAUSE OF INEFFICIENCY
In the same way, there are latent illnesses and inefficiencies in many
commercial organizations which never reach the point of strikes and
lockouts. For some reason or other that lively germ, the walking delegate,
fails to get a foothold. Perhaps there would be a beneficial house
cleaning if he did. Discontent, dissatisfaction, unrest, and constant
changes in personnel load the body up with wastes, inefficiencies and
unnecessary expenses. Any employer who thinks at all, and who has any
basis for judgment as a result of observation, knows that what he desires
to purchase, when he pays wages, is not a prescribed number of days and
hours, is not a standard number of foot pounds of physical energy, but
rather human intelligence and human willingness and enthusiasm in the use
of that intelligence in his service. It is true that most employees do a
certain amount of physical work, but it is also true that the value of
that work depends entirely upon the amount of intelligence and good will
the employee puts into it. The employee who is doing work for which he is
not fitted and is unhappy and discontented is doubly inefficient. He is
inefficient because he is not well fitted for the work and could not do
his best even if he were perfectly satisfied and happy. And he is
inefficient because he is in a bad psychical state. With his mental
attitude, he could not do good work even if he were in the place for which
he was best fitted.
Efficiency experts maintain that the average employee in our industrial
and commercial institutions is only from twenty-five to thirty-five per
cent, efficient. Sixty-five to seventy-five per cent, loss in productive
power on the part of the forty million workers in this country constitutes
an almost incalculable sum.
Who is to blame for this loss? Are we not too intelligent, too well versed
in the laws of cause and effect and too courageous to try to blame the
Almighty for it or to lay it to the public schools or to hold the employee
accountable? As a matter of fact, no matter how we may try to shift the
blame, those of us who are executives know only too well that our board of
directors and stockholders hold us strictly responsible for results. What
they want is dividends, not excuses. They do not care to hear how hard it
is to find good men. They are not interested in the stories of employees
who are so ungrateful as to leave just when they have become most useful.
They will not permit you to shift any of the blame upon the shoulders of
the employee. They expect you to use methods in selecting and assigning
employees and handling them after they are selected that will yield the
largest possible permanent results.
HIGH COST OF HIRING AND FIRING
Employers who will take the trouble to study their records for some years
past, will, unless they are very exceptional, find that the average length
of service in their organization is much shorter than they would be
prepared to believe unless the actual figures were before them. We have
the word of its manager in regard to a certain foundry in the Middle West
that the average period of employment for any one man in that foundry is
only 30 days. We know a large steel mill employing 8,000 where the average
length of service per employee is a few days more than four months. These
figures were given to us by the employment manager of the mill. The head
of the employment department of a large electrical manufacturing company
stated to us that the average length of service per employee for his
organization was one year or a little less.
From "Current Affairs," Boston, we quote the following significant
"Do employers realize the waste and extravagance and actual money loss due
to haphazard hiring and firing?
"Twelve typical factories were recently investigated as to their
employment records by Mr. M.W. Alexander. He chose the normal industrial
year of 1912. He chose representative factories, big and little, in
several States. The results of this inquiry were reported in an address
before the National Association of Manufacturers.
"Mr. Alexander found that this group of factories had 37,274 employees at
the beginning of 1912, and 43,971 at the end of the year--a net increase
of 6,697 workers. But the books showed that the factories had actually
hired 43,571 new hands, 35,874 having been dropped during the year Of
course, not all were fired. Some were absent because of sickness, some
died, some left voluntarily; but these were only a small proportion. And
the fact remains that in order to increase their working force by 6,697
these twelve industries had to break in 42,571 new employees and suffer
the consequent extra expense of instruction cost, reduced production, and
beginners' spoiled work. Making liberal discounts for the workers
unavoidably withdrawn, it is estimated that these twelve factories
suffered a definite money loss of more than $831,000 during the year on
account of reckless hiring and firing.
"The conclusion seems justified: 'The highest grade of judgment in the
hiring and discharging of employees is needed. The employment "clerk" of
to-day will have to be replaced by the employment "superintendent" of
to-morrow, not merely by changing the title and salary of the incumbent of
the office, but by placing in charge of this important branch of
management a man whose character, breadth of view, and capacity eminently
qualify him for the discharge of these duties.'"
It is probable that most executives and employers do not know because they
have not fully considered what this rapid ratio of change costs. This
cost, of course, varies over a very wide range, according to the kind of
work to be done and the class of employees. The sales manager of one
organization told us that it cost his concern $3,000 to find, employ,
train, and break-in to his work a new salesman. The employment manager of
one of the largest corporations in the world in-forms us that it costs him
$10,000 in actual money to replace the head of a department. The
employment manager of a large factory employing people whose wages ran
from $5 a week up, told us that the records of his department showed that
it cost $70 to get the name of a departing employee off the payroll and to
substitute thereon the name of a new permanent employee to take his place.
But these are only costs that can be computed. There are other costs
perhaps even greater, records of which never reach the accounting
department or the employment department. Let us tell you a story:
A COMMONPLACE STORY
Joe Lathrop, foreman of the finishing room, had a bad headache. It had
been along toward the cool, clear dawn of that very morning when, having
tearfully assured Mrs. Lathrop for the twentieth time that he had taken
but "one li'l' drink," he sobbed himself to sleep. His ears still range
disconcertingly with the stinging echoes of his wife's all-too-frank and
truthful portrayal of his character, disposition, parentage, and future
prospects. His heart was still swollen and painful with the many things he
would like to have said in reply had he not been deterred by valor's
better part. It was a relief to him, therefore, to take advantage of his
monarchical prerogatives in the finishing department and give vent to his
hot and acrid feelings.
With all his flaying irony and blundering invective, however, Joe Lathrop
never for a moment lost sight of the fact that there were some men upon
the finishing floor whom it was far better for him to let alone. With all
his truculence, he was too good a politician to lay his tongue to the man
tagged with an invisible, but none the less protective, tag of a man
higher up. And so Joe Lathrop let loose his vials of wrath upon those
whose continuance upon the payroll depended upon merit alone. One of these
HATED FOR HIS EFFICIENCY
Robinson had been finishing piano frames upon this floor for twenty
months. He was a young married man, in good health, ambitious, faithful,
loyal, skilful, and efficient. He was a man who worked far more with his
brains than with his hands. He understood the principles of piano
construction, and was, therefore, no rule-of-thumb man. He had studied his
work and, as a result, had continually increased both its quantity and
quality Robinson was not self-assertive, perhaps a little taciturn, but
there was something about him which made people respect him. Over the
dinner pails at noon there had been many a conjecture on the part of
Robinson's fellow-workers that he was in line for promotion and that he
might be made assistant foreman at any time.
Joe Lathrop knew that Robinson's quiet efficiency and attention to
business had not escaped the superintendent's eye. He felt that the day
might come almost any time when, on account of his "just one li'l' drink,"
or its consequences, he might have to yield his scepter to the younger
DISCHARGED WITHOUT CAUSE
Along about nine o'clock of this particular morning, Lathrop was
brow-beating one of the men for some fancied fault near the place where
Robinson was working. Seeing Robinson quietly doing his work, paying no
attention to the wrangle so near him, only further irritated the suffering
"Robinson," he yelled. "You have been here long enough to know better than
this. What do you mean by standing there like a wooden post right beside
this man and letting him make such a botch of these frames?"
Robinson, of course, being a wise man, kept his own counsel, and went on
with his work. He could not acknowledge himself at fault when he was not
at fault. His manhood revolted. His business was to concentrate upon his
own work. Since he could not acknowledge the fault, he therefore said
nothing. This, of course, was just what Lathrop did not want.
"Speak up," he bawled, "explain yourself."
"I have my own work to attend to, Mr. Lathrop, as you know," he said
"I'll have no back talk from you, you sulky dough-face," roared Lathrop.
"Get to hell out of here. Go to the office and get your time."
Robinson knew better than to protest. He even hesitated to go to the
superintendent, but finally decided to do so.
"It's a shame, Robinson," admitted the superintendent, "but Joe is an
awfully good man when he is right, as you know, and as long as we keep him
in our service we have to stand behind him in order to maintain
discipline." And so Robinson walked out with half a week's pay in his
THE BEGINNING OF LOSSES
Let us estimate roughly what Joe Lathrop's "one li'l' drink" and his
suspicious jealousy cost the piano company.
Of course, his first cost was the loss of time in the finishing room
while Robinson's place stood empty. It is fair to suppose that the company
was making some profit on Robinson. It, therefore, lost the profit of
those two days. Besides this, the machinery and the equipment Robinson
operated stood still for two days eating up, in the meantime, interest on
investment, rental of floor space, depreciation, light, heat, and all
other overhead charges that it ought to have been making products to pay.
In addition to all the overhead charges, the machinery ought also to have
been making a profit for the piano company.
But there were other losses. Robinson's absence disorganized the shop
routine. There were delays, conflicts, piano parts piled up in one end of
the room while other departments clamored for finished frames at the other
end of the room. Then, at least one-half a day of Joe Lathrop's valuable
time went to waste while he was out trying to find some one to fill
Robinson's place. His first attempt was made at the gate of the factory,
where the sea of the unemployed threw up its flotsam and jetsam. But
finishing piano frames is rather a fine job and none of the willing and
eager applicants there could fill the bill. Joe then made the round of two
or three employment agencies who had helped him out in previous similar
emergencies. This time, however, they seemed to be without resource, so
far as he was concerned. Being in considerable perspiration and
desperation by this time, he was probably gladder than he ought to have
been to receive a summons to appear at the court of Terrence Mulvaney.
Terrence, who sat in judgment in the back room of his own beverage
emporium, the place where Lathrop secured his "li'l' drinks," had heard,
in the usual wireless way, that there was a finisher needed at the big
factory Lathrop still owed Terrence for a good many of his "li'l' drinks."
Furthermore, Terrence, by virtue of some mysterious underground
connection, pulled mysterious wires, so that an invitation from him was a
command. For these reasons, also, Joe Lathrop found it discreet in his own
eyes to engage on the spot Tim Murphy, a very dear friend of Mulvaney
and, according to Mulvaney's own impartial testimony, a very worthy and
BREAKING IN AN INCOMPETENT
Valuable hours and moments of the company's time were consumed in
initiating Tim Murphy into the employ of the company. There were certain
necessary processes in the paymaster's department, the accounting
department, the liability department, the tool room, and the medical
Now, while Murphy had had some experience in finishing piano frames, he
was utterly unfamiliar with the make of piano produced in this factory.
Likewise, he was ignorant of the customs, rules, and individual methods
which obtained in the factory. This meant that his employers paid him good
wages for five or six weeks while he was finding his way around. It was
good money spent without adequate return in the way of service. In fact,
during these weeks, the company would probably have been better off
without Tim Murphy than with him, for he spoiled a good deal of his work,
took up a great deal of his foreman's time which ought to have been
applied in other directions, broke and ruined a number of valuable tools
and otherwise manifested those symptoms which so often mark the entrance
into an organization of a man propelled by pull rather than push.
The trouble in Tim Murphy's corner continued to halt and disorganize the
work in the department so that there were still further delays and losses
up and down the line. All this was bad enough, but by the end of five
weeks of Murphy's attachment to the payroll he had demonstrated that he
was not only incapable, indolent, careless, and unreliable, but that he
was a disorganizer, a gossip, and a trouble maker.
BAD EFFECT UPON OTHER EMPLOYEES
Finally the superintendent, who in some mysterious way had managed to
escape the entanglement of underground wires running from Terrence
Mulvaney's saloon, issued a direct, positive order to Foreman Lathrop, and
Murphy's place in that factory knew him no more. Nor was Murphy
astonished or disappointed. He had been expecting this very thing to
happen, and was prepared for it. So when he walked out, two skilful, but
easily influenced companions, walked out with him. Thus Joe Lathrop had,
added to one of his frequent early morning headaches, the serious trouble
of trying to find three men to fill yawning vacancies. The company was
faced with a new series of losses even greater than those which had
followed the discharge of Robinson. Furthermore, there was trouble and
disorganization among the men still remaining in the department. Every man
there had liked and respected the competent young worker, Robinson. They
all knew that he had been discharged largely because Joe Lathrop was
jealous and somewhat afraid of him, and because Joe had had a bad headache
and grouch. They resented the injustice. Their respect for their foreman
dropped several degrees. Their interest in their work slackened. "What is
the use," they thought, "to do our best when superior workmanship might
get us thrown out of here instead of promoted?"
And so Joe Lathrop's series of "li'l' drinks" finally resulted in
decreasing the efficiency of his department to such an extent that the
superintendent was obliged to discharge him. Then the superintendent was
in for it. He had to find a new man. He had to take the time and the
trouble to break the new man in, and the company had to share the losses
resulting from disorganization until the new foreman was installed.
This is not a fanciful story, but was told to us by a man who knew the
superintendent, Joe Lathrop, Robinson, Terrence Mulvaney, and Tim Murphy.
Nor is it an unusual story. Just such headaches, discharges, troubles, and
losses are occurring every day in the industrial and commercial
institutions of this country.
This story illustrates not only the high cost of constant change in
personnel, but also the high cost of leaving the important matter of
hiring and firing to foremen. Where this is done, discharges without
cause, the selection of incompetents, grafting on the payroll, inside and
outside politics, the indolent retention on the payroll of those who are
unfit, and many other abuses too numerous to mention, are bound to follow.
ONLY ONE LEGITIMATE REASON FOR HIRING
There is only one legitimate reason for putting any man or woman on the
payroll, namely, that he or she is well fitted to perform the tasks
assigned, will perform them contentedly and happily and, therefore, be a
valuable asset to the concern. But with foremen, superintendents, and
other minor executives selecting employees, for any reason and every
reason except the legitimate reason, it is small wonder that employees
grow discontented and leave, are demoralized and incompetent so that they
are discharged. For these reasons it is an unusual organization which does
not turn over its entire working force every year. The average of the
concerns we have investigated shows much more frequent turnover than this.
Under these circumstances, it should be easy to understand why our
efficiency engineers and scientific management experts find the average
organization only 25 per cent efficient. And this is not the only trouble
we make for ourselves as the result of unscientific selection in the rank
and file. In many cases we use no better judgment in the selection of even
our highest and most responsible executives. If it is true, as has been so
often stated, that a good general creates a good army and leads it to
victory, and a poor general demoralizes and leads to defeat the finest and
bravest army, then it is more disastrous for you to select one misfit
executive than a thousand misfits for your rank and file.
In our next chapter we shall attempt to show some of the troubles which
overtake a man who selects the wrong kind of executives.
THE SELECTION OF EXECUTIVES
The President and General Manager of a large manufacturing and sales
company, who, for the purpose of the present narrative, shall be called
Jessup, was making a trip from Chicago to New York on the Twentieth
Century Limited. In the smoking room of his car he met a gentleman whose
appearance and manner attracted him greatly. Acquaintanceship was a matter
of course, mutual admiration followed swift upon its heels, and friendship
soon began to crystallize in the association. As the train sped on through
the night, the Big Executive became more and more delighted with his
new-found acquaintance. The man agreed with him in many of his sentiments;
belonged to the same political party; was a member of the same fraternal
order; wore the same Greek letter society pin as his oldest son; and, what
was, perhaps, more important, entertained what seemed to him intelligent,
clean-cut, forceful, progressive ideas in regard to business.
As their talk proceeded, President Jessup found that the gentleman was a
Mr. Lynch, advertising manager of a firm manufacturing jewelry, located in
Providence, Rhode Island. He had been in this position for five years and
during that time had planned, assisted in designing, and sold to a
national market several profitable jewelry specialties. Lynch's graphic
story of how these advertising campaigns had been planned, executed, and
carried through to success fascinated the President of the western
concern. To his mind, his own enterprise, the manufacture and sale of
steam and hot-water heating plants, had long been in the doldrums. He
himself had spent many sleepless nights trying to plan some way of
extending its business; of opening up new markets; of creating a wide new
patronage; of manufacturing something which would bring in more profits
than their regular line, and finding a successful sale for it. It now
seemed to him that he had found just the man to assist him in carrying out
these vaguely formed plans, which as yet were little more than dreams. He
told Lynch something of his ideas and ideals, and, as the two men parted
for the night, he said:
"I have just a glimmering of an idea, Mr. Lynch, that we might be able to
make an arrangement whereby you would be greatly profited in increased
opportunities and bigger income, and perhaps we also would reap an
advantage in increased business. Think it over."
SELECTION BY PERSONAL PLEASURE
Long after he had retired, President Jessup pondered over the situation,
and the more he pondered, the more he became convinced that he had found
just the man he wanted. True, he had not had in mind, during any of his
midnight vigils, the taking on of any new help--his payroll was already
heavy enough. He had a good advertising manager and a good sales manager,
men who were competent to take care of the business of the concern. In
response to their efforts, patronage was growing, not rapidly and
spectacularly, yet steadily and substantially. Now, however, he saw an
opportunity to produce something which would be different enough from the
product of any of his competitors to warrant him in undertaking a national
advertising campaign. Up to the present he had had only a local business.
A few hundred miles from his factory in all directions could be found all
the heating plants which he had manufactured and sold. His dream was to
produce some special form of apparatus which would sell wherever there
were homes, stores, offices, churches, theaters, and schools to be warmed.
Mr. Lynch was just the man to study their business carefully, decide upon
some such product, help to design it, and plan and execute the national
advertising campaign which would develop a local into a national business.
Jessup dropped to sleep with his mind made up.
Next morning, as the train sped along between the Catskills and the
Hudson, the two men, over the breakfast table, began negotiations. Jessup
was surprised, and somewhat disappointed to find what a large salary his
new friend was drawing in Providence. He was still more surprised and
disappointed to find that Lynch's future prospects in the jewelry business
were so bright that it would take a considerably larger salary to entice
him away. The Westerner's mind, however, was made up and the future
profits he saw arising from a national business were so attractive that he
finally threw aside caution and offered Lynch twelve thousand five hundred
dollars a year and moving expenses to the western city where his factory
was located. This offer was finally accepted, the two men shook hands, and
arrangements were made for Lynch to report for duty in the West within
THE NEW MAN IN A QUANDARY
Now, President Jessup had no intention of dismissing his advertising
manager and his sales manager. Each knew the business from beginning to
end; each was thoroughly familiar with the trade already built up and
personally acquainted with many dealers who handled the products, and
could be depended upon not only to hold the present trade, but to increase
it. Therefore it seemed good judgment to retain these two men on the local
trade while turning Lynch loose upon the campaign for the securing of a
national market. So it was decided to retain both of the old men and to
give the newcomer the title of sales promotion manager. There were some
heart-burnings on the part of those already in the office when the new man
came in and took charge. It was not pleasant for men who had been with the
business for years and served it faithfully and helped to build it up, to
have a man placed over them who knew nothing about it and whose salary was
more than their two salaries combined. However, Lynch's personality was so
pleasant and he was so tactful and agreeable that this little feeling of
inharmony seemed soon to disappear. Presently all were working together in
the happiest possible way toward the inauguration of the new policy of the
As time went on, however, Lynch began to show signs of restlessness and
uneasiness. Being a man of keen, alert mind and quick intelligence, he had
quickly grasped the fundamentals of the heating business. He was soon able
to talk with the firm's designers and engineers in their own language. But
the more he studied boilers and radiators, the less interest he took in
them. He had sense enough to know that the only thing that would win in
the plan he had in mind was a radical change in design which would
increase the amount of heat delivered in proportion to the amount of fuel
burned, or the amount of heat delivered in proportion to the cost of fuel
burned, or would reduce the amount of supervision required, or would do
away with some of the long-standing sources of trouble and annoyance in
heating apparatus. Long and hard he thought and conjectured, and studied
statistics, and followed reports of experiments, but for the life of him
he could not take any interest in any such line of research. He hated the
gases, ashes, soot, smoke, and dirt generally. Huge rough castings of
steel and iron seemed gross and ugly to him, and the completed product
seemed coarse and unfinished. The only improvements he could think of were
improvements in beauty of line, in refinement of the design, in added
ornamentation, and other enhancements of the physical appearance of the
product. In these he took some interest, but he had the good sense to know
that no change of this kind would accomplish what they wished in the
matter of going after a national market.
THE HIGH-SALARIED ONE FAILS
For a while President Jessup waited patiently; then, as the big salary
checks came to him to be signed month after month, he began to grow
restless. No result had yet been announced and in his conferences with
Lynch, he could not determine that any hopeful progress was being made.
Finally, in desperation, he called his engineers and designers together.
For three weeks he worked with them night and day, studying, analyzing,
making records, and computing results. They took cat-naps on benches in
the laboratory while waiting for fires to burn a standard number of hours;
ate out of lunch-boxes; and finally, unshaven and covered with soot and
ashes, they triumphantly produced a fire-box and boiler which would burn
the cheapest kind of coal screenings satisfactorily, with but little
supervision and a high degree of efficiency. This was the best thing they
had ever done in the laboratory. This was the attainment which he had so
long desired. This, properly advertised and handled, certainly ought to
revolutionize the steam and hot-water heating business. But it was not one
of Lynch's brain-children. However, Lynch would now have an opportunity to
prove his value and return to the concern large profits for the amount
they had spent and would spend upon him. At any rate, he knew how to plan
and conduct an advertising and selling campaign.
Lynch, intensely relieved by the solving of this problem, the utility of
which he very readily saw, threw himself, heart and soul, into the
construction of the advertising campaign. As this work progressed, Jessup
began to have some misgivings. While the advertisements, circulars,
catalogues, and other literature were beautiful; while the English in them
was elegant, and the form of expression refined, somehow or other, they
seemed to lack the necessary punch or kick which Jessup knew they ought to
have. The two big things about the new product were, first, economy of
fuel; second, ease of operation and small demand for supervision. These
points were not brought out clearly enough. They did not grip. They did
not get home as they should. There was a good deal of talk in all the
advertising about the beauty of the new apparatus; about the refinement of
its finish; about its workmanship, and many other things which, to
Jessup's mind, detracted from the main issue. The one thing he wanted to
hammer into the minds of the readers of his advertising was the fact that
here was a heating apparatus for which fuel could be purchased in the
usual quantities and at half the regular price. What he wanted to do was
to make them actually see the dollars and cents saved, not only in fuel,
but also in the cost of operation. He wanted suburbanites to see the fact
that they could attend to their furnaces each morning before going to
town, and that the fires would not need any further attention until the
following morning; but, somehow or other, the advertising did not seem to
picture this clearly enough. The statements were made, yes; there was
plenty of evidence produced to show this; but it was done in a way which,
somehow or other, did not produce an intense conviction.
Jessup had secured from his board of directors an appropriation of fifty
thousand dollars for a national advertising campaign. Upon the result of
his first attempt would depend his securing a further appropriation for
such a campaign as he had planned and as he wanted to execute. This being
the case, he did not feel that he was justified in permitting Lynch's
advertising to go out as it was. The result was that, just before the time
came when copy must be sent to the magazines, newspapers, and street-car
advertising companies, Jessup called his old advertising manager into
conference and for a week they struggled together, revising the copy,
rewriting the selling argument, and placing emphasis in clear, strong,
unforgetable figures where it would do the most good.
WHY THE "GREAT FIND" WAS A DISAPPOINTMENT
The result of all this was that Lynch, seeing the writing on the wall,
tendered his resignation--which was all too gladly accepted. In offering
his resignation, however, Lynch had stipulated that he was to receive four
thousand dollars out of the six thousand five hundred still due him on his
year's contract. President Jessup's error in selecting an employee had
cost him ten thousand dollars in salary. Besides this was the still larger
sum in expenses, in wasted effort, and in the disorganization of his
entire factory and selling force as the result of the introduction of a
man who did not belong there.
His mistake was due to two fundamental errors. In the first place, the
facts that a man is personally agreeable, that he belongs to the same
political party, that he belongs to the same lodge or fraternity, that his
ideas and opinion on matters outside of business agree with his
employer's, are merely incidental and by no means adequate reasons for
employing him. Nor is the fact that he has made a good record, even an
extraordinary record, in some other line of business a good reason for
employing him. Perhaps, on the other hand, the fact that his record is
made in a totally different business is a good reason for not employing
him. It certainly was so in this case.
In the second place, President Jessup did not take into consideration the
natural aptitudes of his man, natural aptitudes which he might very easily
have determined with a moment's casual observation. Lynch was exceedingly
fine in texture; his hair, his skin, his features, his hands, and his feet
were all fine and delicate. He, therefore, loved beauty, refinement, small
articles, fine lines, elegant designs. These things appealed to him
strongly, and because of this he was able to make them appeal to others.
Anything which was heavy, rough, coarse, crude, uncouth, or ugly repelled
him. He could not take an interest in it except in the most theoretical
way. For this reason he could not interest others in it. He had an unusual
knack for selling things to people which would appeal to their love of the
beautiful and their desire for adornment; in short, to their vanity; but
he had no qualifications for selling to people on a purely commercial
basis, and especially selling something which was so matter-of-fact and
commonplace in its character as the saving of coal and the freedom from
necessity of frequent attention.
A WEAK MAN AND HIS TEMPTATION
In the winter of 1914-1915, the people of New York were shocked at the
downfall of a man who had held a very high social, church, and business
position. He had a wife and two or three beautiful children; he occupied a
very prominent place in church and Sunday-school; he was well connected
socially; he was a prominent member of one of the more popular secret
fraternal organizations; he had a good position at a large salary, and
enjoyed the complete confidence and respect of his employers and business
associates. Like a bolt out of a clear sky, therefore, came the revelation
that he had robbed his employers of more than a hundred thousand dollars.
This money he had lost in speculation.
It was the old, old story. He had begun speculating with his own reserve;
this was quickly wiped out. Then, in order to win back what he had lost,
he had begun to borrow, little by little from his employer. He would win
for a little while; then he would lose, and, as a result, would have to
borrow more in an attempt to make good his losses and repay what he had
This man's employers had to make good a loss of about one hundred and
twenty-two thousand dollars. In addition to this, they lost time, money,
service, energy, and physical well-being because of the upset in their
business and the bitter disappointment to them in the defalcation of their
trusted employee. They also spent money tracing him in his flight and
bringing him back to face trial and receive his penalty. More money was
spent trying to discover whether he had concealed any of the funds he had
stolen, so that they might be recovered. All of this might have been saved
and the man himself, perhaps, might have been protected from the fate
which overtook him, if, instead of judging him by his church record and
his pleasing personal appearance and manner, they had taken the trouble to
learn something about the external evidences of weaknesses which this man
possessed in such a marked degree.
WHY HE GAMBLED AND STOLE
If they had learned some very simple principles, they would have been able
to determine at a glance at his curly blond hair; by his secretively
veiled eyes; by his large, somewhat fleshy nose, not particularly high in
the bridge; by the weakness and looseness of his mouth, and the small and
retreating contour of his chin, and by other important indications, that
he was selfish by nature, grasping, extravagant, too hopeful, too
optimistic, too fond of money, too self-indulgent; that he lacked
conscientiousness; that he lacked caution; that he lacked foresight; that
he lacked any very keen sense of distinction between what was his and what
belonged to others; that he lacked firmness, decision, self-control,
will-power. Notwithstanding his lack of all these things, he had made a
success for himself, up to the time of his defalcation, by means of a
keen, penetrating intellect, excellent powers of expression, the ability
to make himself agreeable, ease in mingling with strangers, a natural
talent for piety and pious profession, and considerable financial and
A man of this type is nearly always a gambler if he has an opportunity;
but he ought to be placed in a position where there will be no temptation
to him to rob others to satisfy his gambling proclivities. He is one of
the last men in the world who ought to be placed in a position of
responsibility, trust, and confidence. For the protection of others and
for protection against himself, he ought to be under the most careful
supervision. His intellectual powers, his suavity, his ability to meet and
handle strangers, his commercial and financial shrewdness, ought all to be
given full scope by his employers, but any opportunity to handle money or
help himself to the funds of others should be carefully shut away from
AN ENGINE WITHOUT A BALANCE WHEEL
Some years ago we had an opportunity to look into the affairs of a
mail-order house which had just failed for a large sum, so that its
creditors, in the final adjustment, received about eleven cents on a
dollar for their claims. The business had been established by a capitalist
of considerable wealth, who had made his money in an entirely different
line. For some years it was operated in a conservative way by a man who
had had years of experience in the mail-order business. The man was well
along in years and rather old-fashioned in his ideas. While his management
was safe and sane, it had not produced a very large return upon the
capital investment. For this reason, the owner determined to engage, as
advertising manager, a young man who had several years' successful
experience in advertising, but no first-hand knowledge of the mail-order
business. The young man did brilliant work. The business of the house
began to grow, dividends began to come in, and the owner was delighted.
But the new advertising manager and the old general manager did not get
along well together. The young man was progressive, optimistic, had ideas
of expansion and growth, while the old man was conservative, careful, and
somewhat out of date in his ideas as to business.
There could be no result of such a combination except the final
resignation of the old general manager. This was only too gladly accepted,
and the young man who had come in as advertising manager was placed in
full charge. Following his appointment there was a period of rapid
expansion. Many new lines were added; the concern rented two more floors
in the building where it was located, and eventually purchased ground and
built a fine new building. The payroll doubled, then trebled, then
quadrupled. All these things, of course, took more capital, and the owner
was compelled to add many thousands of dollars to his original investment,
first, for permanent improvement; then, from time to time, for working
capital. He was glad to do this, because the business was growing. There
seemed to be every prospect that in the near future there would be profits
far in excess of anything the owner had ever dreamed of under the old
SUPERSTRUCTURE WITHOUT FOUNDATION
Then came a time when other ventures of the owner compelled the use of all
of his spare capital. He could no longer add to the funds invested in his
mail-order business. He called his new general manager in and said: "I
have put a great deal of money into this mail-order business. You have
your beautiful new building; you have a goodly amount of working capital;
you have expanded and added new lines; and I think the time has come when
you ought to be able not only to run along without any more investment on
my part, but very soon to show me a nice little profit. I assure you that
it will come in exceedingly handy in the new venture which I have
"Oh, certainly," the young man said, "there is no doubt that we shall soon
be paying you larger profits than any other enterprise you control, with
the new business we have secured and the splendid profits on all lines we
are now handling. There is no reason why we should need any more capital,
and I do not think it will be very long before we will have repaid you in
dividends for every penny of money you have recently put into the
And so the owner turned his back on his mail-order business and gave his
time, thought, and energy to his other ventures. Reports, of course,
reached him regularly, but he had full confidence in the manager, and he
was very busy, so he paid but little attention to them.
THE INEVITABLE COLLAPSE
A little more than a year had passed when the capitalist was profoundly
astonished and dismayed to have one of his best business friends call upon
him and request: "Charlie, I wish you could do something for me on that
account. It's long past due and it's getting altogether too large for me
to carry as business is now."
"Why, what account is that? I didn't know I owed you a cent."
"Why, for that mail-order business of yours. They've been ordering goods
from me for over a year now, and what they have ordered during the last
six months has not been paid for. I knew that you were good, of course,
and so was perfectly willing to extend the credit. But you know, as a
businessman, that there is a limit to such things, and I think it has
about been reached. I hope you can take care of it immediately, as I can
very readily use the funds."
"Why, how much is this wretched account of mine, Will? I didn't know I
owed you a cent. It can't be very much."
"Well, it all depends upon what you call very much. It's something like
thirty-five thousand dollars."
"Thirty-five thousand dollars! Why, man, you must be dreaming," and the
capitalist turned to his telephone and called up the general manager of
his mail-order business.
"Why, yes," came back the cheerful, confident tone of the optimistic young
manager, "we do owe them around thirty-five thousand, I think. I supposed,
of course, you knew all about it. I've been sending my reports in every
"But why haven't you paid it? Certainly your sales are big enough and your
income from them good enough for you to pay your bills."
"Well, I'll tell you; it is taking us just a little longer for us to get
on our feet than I had expected. Then, after your decision not to put any
more money into the business, I found it necessary, in order to round out
and complete our line, to add some new items which cost us quite a little.
But we are in good shape now and the sales are increasing. We shall soon
be able to take care of all of our outstanding obligations."
"How much are your outstanding obligations?" asked the capitalist, with a
"Well, about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, I should say. But it
won't take us long to clean that up now that we've squared away."
"You'd better come right over here and bring your books with you. I want
to go into this thing."
WHY HE FAILED
It took only a few hours' investigation of the books to convince the
capitalist that his mail-order business was hopelessly insolvent. It took
expert accountants to find out why it was insolvent. The trouble was that
the young manager had proceeded with only the vaguest and roughest kind of
an estimate of cost, based, not upon facts, but mostly upon his own superb
guesswork. New business had been brought in by reducing prices. "Low
prices" had been one of the slogans of the young man's campaign, and he
had cut under all of his competitors. On the other hand, there had been
the slackest kind of management inside. Overhead expenses had mounted and
mounted. The young man had been altogether too easy and generous in fixing
salaries, granting promotions and increases, and in giving positions to
those who applied. He was really a splendid young fellow, with a
sympathetic heart and a generous hand, and it was very difficult for him
to turn away anyone who could tell an artistic hard-luck story. Expensive
equipment had been purchased which had far greater capacity than the needs
of the business required; therefore, many machines and other fixtures had
stood idle seventy-five per cent of the time, eating up money in interest
charges, depreciation, space, light, heat, and other expenses. In addition
to these out-and-out expenditures, there were dozens of little leaks in
all the departments of the business, all busily draining away not only
possible profits, but the working capital, and, finally, the limit of the
As a result of this kind of management, the final accounting showed the
liabilities of the concern to be in the neighborhood of four hundred
thousand dollars and its assets only about forty-five thousand. No one
could be found to take the business, even as a gift, and assume its
obligations. The owner himself had his capital so tightly involved in
other ventures that he was unable to save this concern, and it was
therefore sold under the hammer. The creditors received their little
eleven cents on the dollar. The owner's capital investment was, of course,
a total and complete loss.
This man made his mistake in placing a business in which there is a
multitude of detail and a necessity for the closest possible scrutiny of
every cent of expenditure--a business which must be done upon the smallest
possible margin in order to be successful--in the hands of a man who could
look only outward and forward and upward. The young man was, indeed, a
splendid business getter. He was a natural-born advertiser, salesman, and
promoter. His personality was forceful, pleasing, and magnetic. In his
intentions and principles he was honest and highly honorable. He was keen,
positive, quick in thought, quick in action, progressive, eager, buoyant;
he had a splendid grasp of large affairs, principles, and generalities.
But he had no mind for details; he rather scorned them. He was perfectly
willing to leave the details to someone else, and even then did not care
to hear any more about them himself. He never ought to have been placed in
charge of a business involving such minute carefulness as the mail-order
business. He was dangerous in any position of responsibility without a
partner or an auditor and treasurer competent to look after the finances
and all of the details of the accounting and administration. This young
man's function was getting in the business, but he was not equipped by
nature or by training to take care of the business after it came into the
house or to administer the funds which came in with it. The capitalist
would have known, if he had exercised one-half the care in choosing a
general manager that he did in selecting a driving horse, that the young
man was unfitted for the work he was expected to do.
A COMMON TYPE
He would have known that anyone as blonde in coloring and as round-headed
as this young man was unfit for a position which required the minutest and
most careful scrutiny of every detail of administration. He would also
have noticed his wide-open, credulous, and generous eye; the narrowness of
his head just behind the ears, indicating his inclination to side-step
anything in the nature of a disagreeable contest or combat. The high dome
of his head just above the temple and the turned up tip of his nose, both
indicating extreme optimism; his very short fingers, indicating dislike of
detail and the inability to handle it; his rather soft-elastic consistency
of hand, showing inability to bear down hard and firm in cutting expenses
and holding down salaries.
This young man's type is very common. We meet it constantly in business,
and wherever we have met it, we have always found that, unless it was
associated with a man of dark complexion, hard consistency, keen, shrewd
eyes, the ability to fight and to stick, a sort of bull-dog tenacity, it
simply ran away in over-optimistic ventures, dissipated its earnings, and
ended in dismal failure.
[Illustration: FIG. 57. Conical hands, with conical finger tips. Indicate
refinement, responsiveness, sentiment, love of beauty in music and art,
and an emotional nature. This hand, however, is not very practical, and is
not the typical hand of the musical performer or creative artist. May be
the hand of an actor or singer.]
[Illustration: FIG. 58. Back and front view of hand of Mrs. Flora E.
Durand, of Libertyville, Illinois, Pianiste and Pipe Organist. Mrs. Durand
is a performer of unusual skill and artistic feeling. Note squareness of
entire hand and of finger tips.]
[Illustration: FIG. 59. Back and front view of hands of financier and
administrator. Very practical, matter-of-fact, and sensible; not
particularly fond of detail, but can compel himself to do it. Note square
hands and finger tips and moderately short fingers.]
[Illustration: FIG. 60. Front and back view of hands of a mechanical and
electrical engineer of some prominence. He is not only highly qualified,
intellectually, for engineering work, but is a mechanic of great
expertness and skill. All his work is beautifully finished and
marvellously accurate. Note long, square hands and fingers.]
[Illustration: FIG. 61. Long fingers, indicating a tendency to capacity
[Illustration: FIG. 62. An example of narrow head, indicating mildness of
disposition--an inclination to win way and secure ends by intellect, tact,
and diplomacy, rather than by direct conflict.]
[Illustration: _Copyright Ernest H. Mills._
FIG. 63. Sir Henry Fowler. A splendid example of fine, enduring physical
balance with excellent intellectual equipment. Note large, long nose,
ears, and chin; long, straight upper lip; long, rather lean lines of
cheeks and face in general, flat-topped head; prominent brows, and square
jaw, These are all typical indications of calmness, practical judgment,
prudence, shrewdness, moderation, and, as a result, longevity.]
[Illustration: FIG. 64. Reginald D. Barry, Engineer and Scientific
Experimenter. Interested in mechanics and engineering in an almost purely
intellectual manner. Ambitious, determined, optimistic. Note especially
height and width of upper part of cranium, with slender lower face; also
rounded dome above temples, and width and fulness back of upper corners of
[Illustration: FIG. 65. Colbert E. Lyon. Note especially high dome of
head above temples, indicating optimism, faith, hope, sympathy, generosity
and humanitarian leanings. Note also fine texture, indicating love of
beauty, refinement, and responsiveness. Practical judgment, energy and
determination are shown by prominent brows; large, high nose; and strong
chin; fine powers of expression by prominent eyes.]
[Illustration: FIG. 66. Dr. V. Stefansson, Explorer. Of the active,
restless, eager, pioneering type, capable of enduring hardship. Note
square jaw, large nose, convex profile, blond color, high, wide
cheekbones, strong chin, and coarse texture.]
[Illustration: FIG. 67. High, square head, indicating conscientiousness,
prudence, carefulness, dependability, and constancy.]
[Illustration: FIG. 68. High, round head, indicating ambition, love of
adventure, and a certain degree of recklessness, carelessness, and
ROOSEVELT AND TAFT CONTRASTED
When Mr. Roosevelt was about to end his term as President of the United
States in 1907, he and his more prudent advisors did not consider it good
political judgment for him to seek at that time nomination for what would
have been, in effect, a third term. He therefore began to cast about to
find a successor who would carry out his policies. As President, he had
inaugurated certain policies of administration which he regarded as being
of the highest possible importance to the country, and to the world at
large. We are not here discussing the common sense, wisdom, and
statesmanship of those policies. The fact to which we are calling
attention is that Mr. Roosevelt wished to use his influence as President
and as the leader of his party to have placed in nomination, as his
successor, a man upon whom he could rely to continue to administer the
office of President according to the policies he himself had inaugurated.
Mr. Taft had long been a member of Mr. Roosevelt's cabinet and had also
been a very close personal friend. As Governor of the Philippines, and as
Secretary of War, he had made a splendid record and was considered to be
one of the most loyal and able of the President's official family.
Accordingly, he was selected by Mr. Roosevelt as his successor. In his
campaign for election, and in his inaugural address, Mr. Taft repeatedly
gave assurance to the voters that it was his intention to carry out the
Roosevelt policies. There is practically no one, even those who disapprove
most heartily of Mr. Taft's record in the Presidency, who thinks that he
was anything but sincere and honest in making these promises to the
HOW IT WORKED OUT
Now, without discussing for a moment Mr. Taft's administration as
President from the standpoint of its true value to the country, or the
actual quality of his statesmanship, there is no question in the mind of
anyone that he signally failed to carry out the Roosevelt policies. In
fact, he became the titular leader of that faction of the Republican
party, before the end of his administration, most violently opposed to the
Roosevelt policies. He has subscribed to and preached a totally different
political doctrine from that of his former friend and chief ever since.
This course of action may have been right; it may have been wrong; it may
have been wise, or it may have been unwise. It may have been fully
justified, or it may not have been justified. These are not questions
which interest us here.
The point is that Mr. Roosevelt, in all good faith, and believing in the
wisdom of his choice, selected Mr. Taft to carry out his policies in the
government, and that Mr. Taft, no doubt with the best of intentions,
failed to carry out those policies. The result was a split in the
Republican party, the election of a Democratic President and Congress, and
other far-reaching consequences, the full meaning of which we have not yet
begun to see. They may be good; they may be unfortunate. That is not the
question at issue. The question is, could Mr. Roosevelt, if he had had a
scientific understanding of human nature, have foretold Mr. Taft's course
INDICATIONS OF DIFFERENCES IN CHARACTER, IDEAS, IDEALS, AND ACTIONS
The Roosevelt policies were aggressive and bold, cutting across
traditions, flinging down the gauntlet, and throwing defiance into the
faces of powerful political and business interests. They assumed for the
executive office at least all of the powers which, according to the
Constitution, belong to it, working in harmony with a group of men who had
interested themselves in a number of progressive--perhaps some might say
radical--reform measures. Furthermore, these policies were a perfectly
natural expression of Mr. Roosevelt's personality.
Do Mr. Taft's physical characteristics, as easily observable indicate
that he is of a character, temperament and aptitude to continue such
policies as these. A comparison of the two men should give us the answer.
Mr. Taft is very much lighter in color than Mr. Roosevelt. As a general
rule, the lighter blond coloring is an indication of mildness of
disposition, instead of the fierceness and eager determination to dominate
of the man who is as ruddy as Mr. Roosevelt.
Mr. Taft's forehead is very much more practical in type than Mr.
Roosevelt's. He is, therefore, far more interested in the practical
application of such principles as he has than in theories, hypotheses, and
Mr. Taft's nose, by its roundness and softness of contour, indicates
mildness, good nature, refinement, and delicacy of feeling, while Mr.
Roosevelt's is the large-tipped, bony-bridged nose of aggressiveness and
Mr. Taft's mouth is a good-natured, smiling, laughing, jovial mouth,
instead of the grim, hard, fighting mouth as shown in Mr. Roosevelt's
Mr. Taft's chin is of the rounded and rather retreating type, an
indication that he is probably far better qualified by disposition to
follow a strong and aggressive leader than to take the aggressive,
dominating, fighting leadership himself.
Mr. Taft is a very much larger man than Mr. Roosevelt. This, while not
particularly important, is just one more indication of his good nature and
his dislike for a hard, grueling fight. It is an interesting fact that
almost all of the great fighters of the world have been little men.
Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Grant, Lord Roberts, Sheridan, Sherman,
Wilhelm II, and many others have been below medium in stature. Of the
others, Kitchener, Wellington, Frederick the Great, Washington, and von
Hindenberg have been men of not more than medium size. It is almost
unprecedented to find a fighter in a man of Mr. Taft's huge size.
In structure, Mr. Taft is essentially of the judicial type. This type is
always a defender of property, an upholder of the Constitution, a strong
advocate of making the best of things as they are, rather than plunging
into violent innovations, the results of which are unknown and may very
easily prove to be disastrous. On the other hand, Mr. Roosevelt is of
restless, active, pioneering structure--the bony, muscular type of man who
has always led reform movements and led in fighting for changes he thought
would add to the freedom of humanity.
Mr. Taft's texture is finer than that of Mr. Roosevelt. He is, therefore,
more interested in the refinements, the luxuries, and the delicacies of
life than is Mr. Roosevelt. He is also less vigorous, less virile, and
less insistent upon reform and the right of the people to rule. It is an
interesting fact that most of the great friends of the people, most of
those who are eager in demanding the rights of the proletariat, are men of
medium or coarse texture.
Mr. Taft is soft elastic in consistency of fiber, while Mr. Roosevelt is
hard elastic. This indicates more impressionability or amenability to
influence, more desire for finding an easy and pleasant way to accomplish
his end on the part of Mr. Taft than on the part of Mr. Roosevelt.
In Mr. Taft the vital element leads--in Mr. Roosevelt, the motive. The
vital element conduces to putting on of flesh, enjoys the good things of
life, loves an easy time, and naturally inclines to make the best of
things as they are. On the other hand, the motive element demands outdoor
activity, freedom, liberty of movement, and not only liberty for itself,
but liberty for everyone else.
Mr. Roosevelt's jaw is square and determined, which shows an inclination
to push things through regardless of obstacles; to pursue his ends no
matter what difficulties stand in the way. Mr. Taft's jaw is rather
rounded and not so prominent. This indicates less determination, less
perseverance, less persistence in pushing against obstacles and
Note the difference in width between Mr. Roosevelt's and Mr. Taft's head
just above the ears. Mr. Roosevelt is very wide-headed. This indicates
energy, aggressiveness, impatience, a certain amount of destructive
tendency. It is this which not only makes Mr. Roosevelt an aggressive,
eager, fighting, dominating politician and statesman, but also a mighty
On the other hand, Mr. Taft's head is medium narrow just above the ears.
This indicates mildness, an inclination to use diplomacy rather than
force, and a tendency to take things as they are rather than to push ahead
aggressively and make radical changes.
Mr. Roosevelt's head is high in the crown. Mr. Taft's head is low in the
crown. A high crown indicates firmness, decision, love of power, love of
authority, a demand to rule, and great ambition. A low crown, on the other
hand, indicates amenability to authority, a willingness to compromise, and
a lack of domineering quality.
Compare the expression of the two men. Mr. Roosevelt's expression is
intense, vigorous, and almost belligerent. Mr. Taft's expression is mild,
calm, judicial, good-natured, and jovial.
By what stretch of the imagination could anyone suppose that a man of Mr.
Taft's character and aptitudes, as shown by the indications pointed out in
the foregoing, could even begin to carry out the policies of a man of Mr.
Roosevelt's character, as shown by the indications we have pointed out?
And yet, all of the political history of the United States since 1909 has
been completely changed as the result of Mr. Roosevelt's lack of knowledge
of the plain facts of the science of human nature. Indeed, the result of
Mr. Roosevelt's choice of a successor is found in Mexico, in Germany, in
England, in France, and, in fact, throughout the world.
IF NOT SCIENTIFICALLY, HOW?
Woodrow Wilson has been criticized, perhaps, as severely for his selection
of men for various posts in his administration as for any other cause, if
reports are to be believed. He has probably suffered far more from
unfortunate selection of lieutenants and of men for special tasks, and has
more deeply regretted his mistakes of this nature, than any other thing in
his administration up to the time that these lines are written.
The few examples we have given in this chapter of men who gave excellent
promise and then failed to live up to their expectations are typical. They
are occurring every day in every line of business and industry, as well as
in politics and government. We are told by some who have made a study of
this subject that the only way to find out what a man can do, what his
aptitudes are, what are his abilities, his capacities, his type, and what
his performances will be, is to put him in a place where he will have an
opportunity to show what there is in him. If this is the best that science
can do for us, we are, then, groping in darkness through a tangled maze of
pitfalls. We have nothing left but to go on using disastrous and
impracticable methods in the selection of men for commerce, for industry,
for financial responsibility, and for the highest positions of honor,
responsibility, and power in the gift of the people.
True, we can determine a man's fitness by giving him a trial. But, if he
is a failure, and we learn nothing by experience, the next incumbent may
be a hundred-fold worse. Furthermore, in many places, selection by trial
is an impossibility, as in marriage, in the presidency of a bank, or in a
general to lead a forlorn hope. There must be some better way.
Some years ago we were asked to make an investigation at a printing and
publishing house. Two years before this time the proprietor had ceased to
receive any profits from the enterprise and, at this particular time,
complained that for months he had been putting money into the business in
order to keep it going. He himself was not a practical printer and was not
in immediate management of the concern. His manager, however, was an able
man, a good printer, and was considered to be a good business man.
At the very outset of our investigation, we found that the foreman of the
composing-room purchased type, leads, and slugs, furniture, cases, and all
of the other materials used in his department. The foreman of the
press-room purchased paper, ink, rollers, twine, and other things. The
foreman of the shipping-room purchased packing-cases, wrapping paper,
twine, nails, hammers, marking ink, and other materials he used. The
foreman of the bindery purchased glue, cloth, leather, boards, paper, and
wire. The office manager purchased typewriter ribbons, carbon paper,
clips, paper fasteners, pins, mucilage, rulers, pens, and pencils. The
foreman of the electrotyping department purchased copper, acids, metal,
and tools. We were rather surprised to find that the coal and lubricating
oil for the engine room were purchased by the manager himself, but not at
all surprised to learn that he had never heard of such a quantity as a
British Thermal unit and that he had absolutely no records to show the
kind of coal most efficient under his boilers. A little further
investigation showed that each head of department had charge of the stores
of materials and supplies for his department and gave them out to
employees upon a mere verbal request. We were not long in discovering that
the foreman of the composing-room received "tokens of regard" from
salesmen; that the foreman of the press-room was regularly on the payroll
of several companies furnishing inks and rollers, and had a brother-in-law
running a little print shop around the corner and spending very little
money for ink, paper, and other such materials. Each head of a department
also had full power to "hire and fire," as he called it. The foreman of
the composing-room said to us, when we questioned him in regard to this
matter, "Why, if I didn't have the power to hire and fire I could not
maintain discipline in my department; rather than give that up, I would
resign my position."
As a result of this state of affairs, we found a brother of the foreman
occupying an easy position in the composing-room, a brother-in-law, two
nieces, two nephews, and a son occupying easy positions at good salaries
in the press-room and various other nephews and other semi-dependents
working away under foremen who were related to them in the various
departments. In the composing-room, also, we found, upon careful
investigation, that several of the employees were very heavily overpaid at
times and that they divided the surplus in their pay envelopes with the
When we called these things to the attention of the manager, he was deeply
surprised and pained. "Why," he said, "every head of a department in this
printing and publishing house is a personal friend of mine. I have the
highest regard for them and have held their honor and uprightness so high
in my estimation that it has never occurred to me to investigate their
administration in their several departments. You know, of course, that
this is the usual procedure in the printing business. The foremen regard
these prerogatives as being especially theirs and would very deeply and
bitterly resent any attempt on the part of the management to take them
away." The manager was only partly right. It is true that these practices
have been followed in many printing and publishing houses; that they are
followed in some even to-day; but even in his time the most progressive
and successful had long ago abolished this inefficient and
SCIENTIFIC PURCHASING ENDS ABUSES
To-day in every well-managed printing office, as well as every other
industry, there is a purchasing department. Materials are purchased, not
through favors, or on account of bonus from the salesmen, but upon exact
specifications which are worked out in the laboratory. Materials are
accepted and paid for only after a laboratory analysis to ascertain their
true worth. Materials are kept in a stores department and are issued only
upon written requisitions. Requisitions are carefully checked up, records
kept to show that each department is using only its proper quota of
materials and supplies of all kinds.
While the purchasing of mere inanimate material, which after all is only
secondary in importance, has thus been reduced to science and art in
charge of specialists, the methods of selection, assignment, and handling
of employees in nearly all industrial and commercial institutions
continues to-day on the same old dishonest basis as that which we found in
the printing and publishing house described. Foremen, superintendents, and
heads of departments still guard jealously their prerogatives of hiring
and firing. So deeply rooted is this prejudice in the minds of the
industrial and commercial world, that many managers have said to us in
horror, "Why, we can't take away the power to hire and fire from our
foremen. They couldn't maintain discipline. They would not consent to
remain in their executive positions if they did not have this power of
life and death, as it were, over their employees."
Incidentally, we may say, that we have had almost no trouble in securing
the enthusiastic and loyal co-operation of foremen and superintendents
where employment departments have been installed.
SCIENTIFIC EMPLOYMENT THE REMEDY
It is becoming increasingly clear to employers that, only by following the
example of the purchasing department, can industry and commerce cure the
evil which we have briefly described and exemplified in the two preceding
chapters. We find that employment, instead of being left to the tender
mercies of foremen, Tom, Dick, and Harry--who may or may not be good
judges of men, who may or may not be honest, who may or may not indulge in
nepotism, who may or may not pad the payroll; who may or may not be
unreasonable, tyrannical and otherwise inimical to the best interest of
the concern from whom they draw their living--selection of help is now
delegated to specialists and experts. Employment departments are now
established with more or less complete control over the selection and
assignment of men and women in the organization. In some of these
departments complete records are kept. Exact and painstaking care is used
in securing data, hunting up applicants, watching the actual performances
of those who are put to work, determining whether or not they live up to
their opportunities. In other employment departments this system is very
loose and the departments exist principally for the purpose of securing
applicants who are then turned over without recommendation to the foreman
who still has the power of employing and discharging.
The remedy for which we have been looking is to be found in an employment
department, organized with a carefully selected personnel, which will
perform the same careful, analytical research and record-keeping functions
as a scientific purchasing department. Perhaps, for the sake of clearness,
it would be well for us to describe rather in detail the work of such a
The organization of such a department depends entirely upon the number of
applicants and employees with which it must deal and the character of the
work to be done. Suppose, for example, we have a factory with two thousand
employees, seventy-five per cent of them skilled, fifteen per cent of them
unskilled, and ten per cent office employees. The work of such a
department could be very well carried on by one employment supervisor, one
assistant supervisor, one clerk and record-keeper, and part of the time of
one stenographer. The employment supervisor is a staff officer. His
position in the company is that of a member of the staff of the general
manager or president. His work should be subject to oversight by the
president or general manager alone, and he should not be answerable to any
other officer or member of the corporation. It is the function of the
employment supervisor to direct the work of his department, to conduct its
relations with all other departments of the business, to interview,
analyze, and recommend for employment all executives and employees of more
than ordinary importance; to hear and adjudicate all cases of complaint or
disagreement between executives or between executives and their employees
and also to review cases heard by his assistant in which there is any
degree of dissatisfaction with the settlement proposed.
It is the duty of the assistant employment supervisor to interview and
analyze, select, and recommend for employment all applicants for minor
positions in the factory and office. It is also his duty, under direction
of the supervisor, to number and carefully analyze every position in the
organization, determining its requirements, and, having made a careful
list of these requirements in a card index, to keep it in the files of the
department where it can be readily consulted. It is the duty of the clerk
and record-keeper to make out all reports, to record all reports sent from
heads of departments, to keep the files, to make out notifications to the
paymaster and to other officers as occasion requires, and in general to
keep the records and files of the department in a neat, orderly condition,
up to date every moment of the day, and so managed as to yield readily and
instantly any information desired.
It is the duty of the stenographer to attend to all correspondence of the
department, including dictation from the supervisor and the assistant
FUNCTIONS OF AN EMPLOYMENT DEPARTMENT
Briefly, it is the function of the employment department to secure,
interview, analyze, select, and recommend for employment men and women who
will pre-eminently fit into the various positions in the organization; by
competent counsel, upon request, to assist the line executives in the
management of employees, and, in all its activities, to act in the
capacity of expert in human nature, conducting all phases of relationship
between the corporation and its employees.
In detail, however, the functions of a well-organized and efficient
employment department are these:
ANALYSIS OF POSITIONS
1. Theoretically, the first function of an employment department is to
analyze carefully every position in the organization, listing its
requirements, noting the environment and other conditions which surround
it; in short, painting what will be to the members of the department a
clear and easily recognizable word-picture of the aptitudes and character
of the man or woman best fitted to fill that position. While this is the
theoretical first function of the department, in actual practice certain
conditions may arise which will make this inadvisable. But it ought to be
done as quickly as possible, and the records tabulated on cards in a
convenient way in a card file. These are the specifications for the human
material needed in each place. The method of making this analysis varies
under different circumstances.
ANALYSIS OF EXECUTIVES
2. The next step in the work of an employment department is the analysis
of all executives. Each executive is interviewed and carefully analyzed
for two purposes; first, to find whether he is indeed the right man in the
right place; second, to observe his characteristics, his peculiarities,
his personality, and to learn from him his preferences. All of these are
carefully listed, and, in selecting employees, care is taken to select
only those who will work harmoniously and happily with the executives
under whom they are placed.
ANALYSIS OF EMPLOYEES
3. Employees in the organization at the time of the installation of the
employment department are analyzed as opportunity offers. In this way the
supervisor determines whether or not they are well placed as they are, or
whether they have talent and abilities which would make them far more
valuable in some other part of the institution. The analysis of each
employee is made out either completely and in detail or in a general way,
according to his importance, his future possibilities, his probable length
of service with the institution, and other conditions. Clearly a great
deal more time would be spent and a great deal more careful analysis made
in the case of an important executive, than in the case of a day laborer
engaged as a member of a temporary shoveling gang.
These analyses, after having been written out, are filed in folders. Each
employee has a folder of his own, and in this are placed not only his
analysis, but a sheet for the keeping of his record and all letters and
papers referring to him.
SECURING OF APPLICANTS
4. Inasmuch as every live organization is always growing and, therefore,
taking on new employees, and inasmuch, also, as there is a state of flux
in every organization, vacancies occurring for one reason or another, it
is a function of the employment department to secure as many of the most
desirable applicants possible for all of the positions in the enterprise.
Some of these applicants come to the employment department in the natural
course of events, others come as the result of advertisements; still
others because the employment supervisor and his assistant take means to
ferret them out and send for them. Promising young men in schools and
colleges and in the employ, perhaps, of other organizations are kept under
careful observation. Data in regard to them is listed in the reserve file,
and their records, as they come in various ways to the employment
supervisor, are filed with them.
5. Applicants having been secured in these ways, the next step is
carefully to analyze them. Under ideal conditions this analysis is made by
observation, unknown to the applicant, during a pleasant interview. He may
be asked certain questions, not chiefly for the sake of bringing out
direct information, but for the sake of observing the effects of the
interrogations upon him.
In some large organizations, in the rush season, 100 new employees may be
added every day. In order to select this number, perhaps several hundred
applicants may be interviewed. Obviously, a detailed and thorough analysis
of each cannot be made. Under such conditions, however, the work is
usually of such a character that the most casual observation on the part
of a trained interviewer will reveal at once the fact that the applicant
either is or is not fitted for the work to be done.
As a result of the analyses made by the employment supervisor and his
staff, applicants are recommended to foremen who have made requisitions
for the filling of vacancies. Bear in mind, it is not the function of the
employment department arbitrarily to employ. When a desirable applicant
has been found, he is sent, with a recommendation, to the head of the
department which has made requisition for an employee. Then the foreman or
superintendent or the manager either rejects or accepts the applicant. In
case of rejection, the executive returns the applicant to the employment
department, stating his reason for his action.
When an applicant is accepted, the employment department notifies the
paymaster, also places a folder for a new employee in the file. It is
often highly desirable, also, before sending an employee to a foreman to
inform him fully and in detail as to the work he is expected to do, the
conditions under which he will be expected to work, the rate of pay he
will receive, the opportunities for advancement, and all other information
which may decide the applicant for or against accepting the position if it
is offered to him.
REPORTS AND RECORDS
6. The employment department organizes methods for receiving regular and
complete reports upon the performance and deportment of every employee in
the organization. These reports include punctuality, attendance,
efficiency, special ability, deportment, home environment, and habits,
companions, and other necessary and valuable information. Every employer
who has the good of his employees and their advancement at heart ought to
know these things. Reports are received from foremen and superintendents,
also from others who are especially assigned by the employment supervisor
to secure the information.
RECOMMENDATION FOR TRANSFER, PROMOTION AND INCREASE
7. As a result of these reports and of its own analysis, the employment
department recommends for transfer from one department to another, or for
promotion, or for increase of pay, such employees as merit these changes
in their positions and relationship with the company. In cases where
necessity seems to demand it, the employment department may also recommend
the discharge of an employee.
CONSULTATION ON RATES OF PAY
8. In co-operation with properly constituted authorities, and as the
result of careful, scientific study of the whole situation, the employment
department assists in establishing rates of pay commensurate with the work
done, with the conditions in the industry, and with their probable effect
upon the loyalty, happiness, and consequent efficiency of the employees.
SPECIAL INFORMATION TO MANAGEMENT
9. Upon request of the general manager or any other executive in the
organization, the employment supervisor may furnish complete information
as to any employee in the organization when that information is
legitimately required. Oftentimes, also, there will be a call made upon
the employment department for some one with special ability to undertake a
certain task. It may be that the employment department has had under its
observation for months or even years some man already in the employ of the
company who will exactly fill the new position or the vacancy just
created. Or it may be that, upon consultation of the records, the
employment department will find just the man it is looking for. In case
neither of these things happen, then the right man may be found listed and
described in the reserve file.
TRANSFER AND DISCHARGE
10. When a foreman or other executive can no longer use any man in his
employ, he does not discharge him, but sends him instead to the employment
department with a report and recommendation. Oftentimes the employment
supervisor or his assistant can adjust the matter and return the man to
his position, better fitted than ever to perform his task. It may be that
the executive and not the employee is at fault. On the other hand, it is
often the case that the employment department can take the man so returned
and place him in another department, where he will be happy and efficient.
It may be that the work that he has been doing is suited to him, but that
his executive is not the right kind of personality for him. Whatever the
employment department finds in regard to the man, action is taken in
accordance therewith. In case there is real cause for it, the employee is
paid off and dropped from the rolls of the company.
AID IN MANAGEMENT AND DISCIPLINE
11. Owing to his peculiar knowledge of human nature, it is often possible
for the employment supervisor or his assistant to aid executives in
discipline in their several departments. It has been our experience that
an efficient employment department is not in existence very long before
many executives begin to come in for consultation and to ask the
employment supervisor or his assistant what course to pursue in reference
to some particular man or some particular set of circumstances. This has
been found to be one of the most valuable functions of an employment
SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
12. Also because of his expert knowledge of human nature, the employment
supervisor or his assistant is often called upon to adjudicate between
executives, between fellow-employees or between an executive and his
subordinate. Disputes and differences of opinion usually arise because
people fail to understand each other. The employment supervisor,
understanding both parties in the quarrel, is usually able to point out
some basis of amicable adjustment and the restoration of friendly