March 18, 2021
“Jack of all trades but a master of none.” Perhaps you’ve heard this old saying used in relation to someone whose vocation is broad instead of focused. Rather than working toward expertise by specializing on one product, application, or category, a jack of all trades is known to dabble in multiple types. This old saying comes from Robert Greene as far back as 1592 in a critique of William Shakespeare and is typically a negative reference.
When applied to the business world, this phrase is most often used to probe into which company is better suited to supply a product or service- one who is a jack of all trades or rather, master of none. The priority for who will provide services or products depends on multiple factors: the type of industry, the importance of the situation, and the specific circumstances.
The pitfalls of acquiring anything from these “jack of all trades” types are well known. They are the embodiment of a multitasker, taking on a large array of different projects, tasks, and skills. Like a juggler with ten balls in the air, they are incredibly likely to fail. While not all fail, it is rare that these individuals are able to execute well and produce quality work consistently across the board. You most likely have been to a talent show or watched in amazement when a person successfully juggles ten balls to the crowd’s roar. It is certainly entertaining, but instead of giving your attention to the juggler, I would draw your attention to the man on the unicycle. He is not a jack of all trades- the man on a unicycle is a Master.
Proficiency is everything! Some companies require both a high level of performance and an elite product or service. This high expectation is why expertise in a particular application has been particularly significant over the course of history. Proficiency in a specific field is quite rare, and that is why the Masters possess a considerable lead over the competition.
A Master is an expert in their particular craft. They will be extremely productive, and their work is most likely to be impeccable. A Master of one skill increases the potential for any desired outcome. This increase in productivity, accuracy, and efficiency creates a new environment of expertise expansion. Meaning, a Master in one product application, is converted into knowledge about other peripheral aspects such as installation or even engineering and design.
Don’t get me wrong- a jack of all trades is not always a bad thing to have around. What spouse doesn’t love a partner who can make breakfast, then go out and change the tire, pay the bills, mow the front lawn, and bake a cake for dessert. Talk about great! Being a good multitasker in life is one thing but not in the professional world, especially when it comes to safety in a specific industry. You want someone who is an expert, a Master, to know down to the details on how to keep you safe and to make sure you come home at the end of the day. Their dedication to their craft, and your life, makes all the difference.
The bottom line is that when the product or service required is critical, and you want a Master and not a jack of all trades. The more dangerous, the more a Master is absolutely essential. After all, you wouldn’t hire a plumber to perform heart surgery on your father, would you? Even if he was “really good with his hands” you want an absolute expert when someone’s life is on the line.
In the construction world, these “jacks of all trades” types are extremely common. Let’s use Manufacturer representatives as an example. Manufacturer representatives often handle up to twenty or even thirty different product lines per industry. I would propose that if you took all the manufacturing reps in the construction industry, about 20% of them would be the reps that were proficient at most, if not all, the products they represent. This is not a dig on manufacturer reps. Reps are critical and are required to maintain a working knowledge of many topics. I’m always amazed when a rep can competently address a wide range of questions about so many different subjects. However, when it comes to critical products, the variety of general knowledge becomes a liability. In construction, the products a contractor selects can mean the difference between a decent profit or a substantial loss.
This is especially true when it comes to safety. Safety has become such a considerable part of the construction industry that general contractors make the safety and their EMR rating part of their presentation when making a bid. The higher profile the project, the more the building owner, municipality, or university must pay attention. The “EMR score” stands for Experience Modification Rate. Every year the safety records of contractors are examined by OSHA and given an EMR score. An acceptable score is 1.0, which represents the “average.” Companies who finish with a superior safety record get a lower score. Some companies won’t even work with contractors who have more than a 1.0 rating.
Safety has become a substantial part of the construction industry and is the way of the future. Safety professionals understand that credible, trained engineers and qualified persons are always the preferred course of action. Therefore, it is best to have a Master, not a jack of all trades looking after your job site’s safety. The world is a better place when the tool guy rents you the tools you need, and the roofing guy is the one handling the roof. You don’t want to leave the perimeter and barrier controls designed by someone who is just as likely to sell you a sink or a waste bin.
Most people who have experienced-based wisdom know firsthand that it’s not smart to trust everything to one person. There is another old saying for this condition, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It may make life more comfortable for a while, but there is always a price to pay in the long run. At SafetyRespect, we understand edge protection. We have become the global leader by designing the most straightforward, cleanest, and most accessible system.
SafetyRespect’s team of engineers provides call-outs for the job. Our staff will train on the proper installation, inspection, and usage of our products until the customers are 100% satisfied. Leave the jack of all trades behind and get complete confidence with a Master. SafetyRespect performs at the highest level because we focus and excel at one product in one industry category, in one field. We approach each job with absolute professionalism because know the value a Master brings when it comes to keeping your team safe.
Job site threats include unprotected edges, hidden interior voids, stairways, ventilation, and even elevator shafts present unseen hazards. SafetyRespect ensures a cost-effective and safe construction site by providing the highest level of edge protection and technical support throughout the entire construction project.
For more information about our edge protection contact us at [email protected]