The clip from the original movie, “The Karate Kid” demonstrates how Daniel (Ralph Macchio) learns lessons from his Master (Pat Morita) that at first, make no sense to him.
Daniel arrives at the Master's house early in the morning to begin his karate training. To his surprise, the Master tells him to wash and wax every vehicle in the back yard - no less than eight from what Daniel could see. Confused but committed to following the Master's instructions, the boy starts working. Before long, the Master intervenes and insists that Daniel "wax on" and "wax off" using very defined movements. Once the Master is satisfied that Daniel is using the proper technique, he leaves him to his work, which continues late into the night. The Master then dismisses the boy with no explanation, no apology and no assurance that tomorrow will better meet the boy's expectations.
For the next two days, Daniel returns to the Master's house expecting his karate training to begin, but each morning he is delegated another tedious and confusing chore. Each morning the Master ensures that Daniel is using the proper techniques for his tasks, then leaves him to his work and is not seen again until he dismisses Daniel late each night.
The epiphany comes when the boy realizes that his Master knew what he was doing all along. "Wax on" and "wax off" held secrets to Daniel's success that he did not see while he was engaged in seemingly meaningless tasks. The strength built in waxing daily helped Daniel to be best prepared for handling ‘the Big Picture’ of his karate training. Daily, we have to realize the same thing.
Our clients often ask us to complete their own version of ‘wax on’ and ‘wax off’ tasks as they work toward the goal of their big picture. We can learn valuable lessons from these day-to-day tasks such as proactivity, flexibility and organization. With our strength supporting them, they are able to become the ‘Master’ of their goal.
For me, the most valuable instructions learned have been patience, teamwork and leadership. Developing these talents has helped me grow into and be successful in my current role. As an Operations Team Manager, I think it is important for my team to share the important lessons they are learning, in their everyday “wax on” and “wax off” tasks. Through this sharing, the entire field team can learn through best practices. While tasks may not make sense at the beginning, as you start to work through them, all the tips, tricks, and pointers start coming together. As a Yoh Manager, it makes me feel great to be my team’s Master and help them be successful in their roles.
This post was written by Jennie Taylor. Jennie has over 10 years’ experience in the Human Resource field. She currently serves as an Operations Team Manager leading a virtual team of 23 Yoh employees. Jennie’s expertise spans training & development, staff recruitment & retention, HR metrics & analytics, organizational development, and HR policies & procedures. Prior to managing the Yoh Field Team, Jennie served as ah HR Specialist supporting a Yoh client in Greenville SC. Jennie currently still wears both hats as Operations Team Manager and HR Specialist. Jennie holds a B.S. from Strayer University in Business Administration. She currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.