Fit

The engineering company I worked for in East Texas (discussed previously) came to an interesting end.

They had been in business for decades, and had made a nice profit doing small jobs at local oil and gas pumps and refineries. The people they had hired were take-charge types who could dive in and do it all themselves, which is what was needed for that kind of work.  When something went wrong, they’d grab their toolbox and head out and fix it themselves.

Then management got greedy. They didn’t want to do lots of little jobs anymore, they decided to bid on big jobs and get big paydays. So they did just that, and landed a big contract with a huge payday for a large refinery in South America.

And that’s when they discovered they had the wrong men for the job. Men who had spent their entire careers doing everything themselves suddenly had to coordinate and work together, and they weren’t good at it.

They went so over-budget and fell so far behind schedule that the company went bankrupt.

The same engineers who had been so productive and successful in the right situation had crashed and burned in the wrong one.

I never forgot the lesson: sometimes it’s not about being the best, it’s about being the best fit.

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