The 5 levels of change

We face opportunities and challenges everyday. Taking advantage of the opportunities or managing the challenges involves change and maybe moving workers out of their comfort zone. Each challenge or opportunity requires different management and change level. The following is a spectrum of change levels that will cover almost every challenge faced in business.

Level 1: Improve efficiency

2014-12-19 20.51.12Improve efficiency by determining if workers are putting the right effort at the right place. Take a look at the current work practices and if the workers are doing what they are suppose to do.
Worker competence and willingness to work are two major factors at this level. Superstars in box 1 are those who are competent and willing to work. They are go-getters who you only need to describe the job for them and they will execute it flawlessly. Workers in box 2 are good workers who are willing to work, but not competent enough to execute a faultless job. Training and development are the solution to increase the workers’ efficiency in this box. Competent and experienced workers in box 3 are unwilling to do their jobs for different reasons. Motivation may help improve the efficiency in box 3 but the workers are choosing not to work for different reasons. Workers in box three knows the rules and regulations, knows the lube holes, shortcuts and exceptions. Troublemakers are usually found in this box and the leader or manager should be careful with them. Workers in box 4 are either new workers or older workers who’ve been moved to a new job without proper training. Their unwillingness to work may be affected by their incompetence or the neglect they feel after they have been assigned to their new role. The leader should either replace workers in the box or train and motivate them to do their jobs.

Level 2: High performance.

Importance vs UrgencyExecuting the right business process. Focus on the important and not urgent part of the business before they become important and urgent. Important and urgent businesses are usually executed in a firefighting mood which lead to mistakes or substandard jobs. Organize work by using the right procedures and setting priorities with key performance indicators and milestones. Pareto Principle states that 80 percent of all the things being done are executed by 20 percent of the right effort by the right people. Assign the right workers with the right resources to high yielding part of the business.

Level 3: Improve, eliminate and copy.

Cut or improve some of the steps from the best process recognized for the business. In level 2 we selected to automate processes to conduct the organizational business, but we need to improve or trim some of the redundant steps that take up time and recourses with little or no positive effect. Redesign the business process by eliminating the unnecessary steps, improve vital steps and imbed best practices in the process. Revisit the business process with fresh and unbiased eyes. Some of the steps in the process were put to inflate somebody’s ego. Other steps were useful for many years, but became absolute now. Some activities and regulations are practiced in the organization for no apparent reason. When asked, the workers will say “we always do it this way, but we are not sure why!” Simple questions can reveal a lot of wrong practice. The same simple questions can be directed to top management and floor workers.

2014-12-17 08.53.29Organization’s do not work soon. Competitors with similar products are produced by similar processes or even better. The organization should explore how others are executing their businesses and find ways and means to adapt them in the organization. Change will always have resistance from workers living in their comfort zone. Not Invented Here (NIH) is one of the hurdles that workers used to stop or even sabotage processes or practices they did not develop internally in the organization. Workers ego and selfishness will find faults and difficulties in the new best practices they did not develop. Resistance can be handled by explaining or demonstrating the benefits of the new best practice and how it may help the workers in their daily work.

Level 4: Think out of the box.

Brainstorm new idea nobody thought could be possible or feasible. The new ideas may have a slim chance to succeed, but experimenting with these ideas after careful thought may yield great results. The new ideas may lead to other possibilities worth further exploring. Integration between different tools or technologies can result in different possibilities and products. New ideas are always welcome, but implementing them will face Great resistance. Change management is a major factor in getting the new ideas go through the comfort zone.

Level 5: Breakthrough.

Complete shift in the thinking paradigm. In this level the business owner was exploring new territories that never been explored before. The breakthrough might be in changing the future direction by more than 90 degrees. Intel dropped the memory chip business and pursued the processor business. Steve Job reduced the Apple products from 12 to only fore after his legendary return to Apple.

 

Bargaining Power of Customers (Porter’s 5 Forces)

Five Forces - CustomerAn evaluation of how it’s simple to drive costs down for the customers. The customer can influence the price and terms of purchase and may request better service and product quality. The customer power is magnified when the market has many sellers and fewer customers. The switching cost from one seller to another is another factor in the buyer’s bargaining power. The buyers switch to another seller if the products are similar and there is no significant cost to switch. The washing machine detergents are almost similar and do the same cleaning. Dental care products are almost the same with different flavors. Online search engines are another example of service similarities. Users may switch because of a delay of a fraction of a second during the search. The customer will buy another toothpaste because of the new flavor of the month. In undifferentiated market, the brand loyalty between the buyer and seller could be the only reason why a consumer sticks with one seller over the other.

The customer may switch to another product if the customer is well-deducted about the product and have price sensitivity. The availability of the product substitute makes the seller weaker relative to the customer bargaining power. Supermarket shelves in most countries are stacked with different bands of a similar product that the consumer can conveniently choose from according to the brand name, price tag, or attractive packaging.

Regional small farmers, selling most of their farm products to a large supermarket chain have little influence on the terms of the sale. The farmer may opt not to sell to the supermarket at the price they set, but then the farmer has to endure the additional transportation cost to sell his products to another market.

Threat of New Entrants (Porter’s 5 Forces)

Five Forces - Entrants

Lucrative markets attract new entrants unless the existing organisations have a strong barrier to entry. If it is easy to make and sell what the organisation is selling then every other organisation would love to jump in and produce the same product and market it to the consumer. The organisation should have barriers to its share of the market to stop the new entrants from taking a slice out of it.

One of the best barriers is the economy of scale. Economy of scale is achieved when more products or services are obtained with the same fixed cost. A good example would be the neighbourhood bakery. The fixed cost for the bakery is the skilled bakers, the oven, and the store rent. The bakery would be losing money if they produce and sell a few items every day, but the bakery will have excellent economy of scale if the bakers work all of the time and the oven is always full of white dough turning to golden cakes and bread. The fixed cost will be distributed over multiple products and the production cost of each unit will be low. New entrant has to achieve this production and selling scale to be profitable otherwise they will not be able to enter and compete with the existing organisation.

Another example of the economy of scale is the Microsoft Excel. Competitors of Excel have to be widely distributed and adopted to be able to compete. The cost of switching to Excel to another spreadsheet software has to be very low, or maybe free to attract new users. Google offered Google Spreadsheets free online and offline for all users and it is making a good gain in the spreadsheet market share. Brand name can be a useful entry barrier when new organisation try to muscle in its way into the market. In the case of spreadsheet market, both Microsoft and Google are excellent brands and will have a fair chance to compete.

Product differentiation and location are strong entry barriers. Using the bakery example above would be a good illustration for these entry barriers. The bakery should have a good location and access to the costumers to make it more attractive for the customers. New competing bakery will have difficulty attacking the costumers if store is located in the back of a shopping mall or in a remote area. The customer will not go to the new bakery unless it has products the other bakery does not offer. The new bakery can specialize in birthday, wedding, and special occasion cakes which will make the costumer reach for it for that special social event.

The pharmaceutical industry illustrates three major entry barriers. Initial capital investment, government policy, and technology propriety (patent). The pharmaceutical industry invents heavily in research and development to generate a promising medicine that they can patent and sell in the market for many years in the future. The pharmaceutical life cycle from an idea to introduction to the market is averaging around 8 years. The FDA takes at least one year to approve the drug and only three out of twenty drugs turn out profitable. The patent may prevent other pharmaceutical organizations from copying the formula, but the customer will find generic products, which have the same effect, in the market within one year after launching the drug in the market.

Read also The Suppliers Bargaining PowerBargaining Power of Customers

The Suppliers Bargaining Power (Porter’s 5 Forces)

Supplier power is an evaluation of how easy it is for providers to drive costs up. The supplier power is driven by the singularity of the product or service; the number of suppliers; relative size and strength of the supplier; and price of changing from one supplier to another.

Located in London and South Africa, DeBeers controls 58 percent of all rough, uncut diamonds sold worldwide until 2004. DeBeers had to pay a $10 million to settle a 10-year-old indictment. The settlement was huge but gives DeBeers a bigger marketing presence and greater legitimacy with U.S. consumers. However, DeBeers market share eroded as new profitable mines were discovered in Russia, Australia, and Canada and those miners started selling to the market directly without the help of DeBeers.

TheFive Forces - Suppliers suppliers power increase if there are fewer suppliers in the market who can form a monopoly or duopoly on the buyers. The same power will decrease if there are alternatives to what the suppliers are selling to the buyer. For example, if natural rubber farmers form coalitions and start raising their prices, then the buyers may switch to synthetic rubber as a suitable alternative. However, if both producers of natural and synthetic rubber form a consortium and start raising their prices then the buyers are forced to accept the higher prices (or pass the additional cost to their customers) until the buyers can find a good and reliable alternative for rubber.

Sometime the alternative is available, but the switching cost from one supplier to another is higher than accepting the original supplier’s prices. Professional video editors are on the look for the latest tools and gadgets to improve their skills and performance. However, the cost of abandoning Final Cut Pro and switching to Adobe Premier Pro maybe too much because of the price they paid to buy the editing software. Another cost to consider is the skill and experience they build up by using one system and they have to re-learn again for the new software. Similar situation is faced by international organisations when they consider switching from Oracle to SAP or for the airline companies to switch from Airbus to Boeing.

The supplier may not decide to raise the price but forward integrate its business. A fishing company that has boats to catch fish in the sea is a supplier to the fish market and the local distributors. The same fish supplier may decide to integrate its business to catch the fish then open stores in the same neighbourhood to sell the fish directly to the customers. The supplier will disrupt the market by taking the distributor’s business and competing with the local fish stores. The same example may apply to Airbus or Boeing if they chose to build the plane and then set up their own airline company.

Read also Threat of New Entrants (Porter’s 5 Forces)Bargaining Power of Customers

What is Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity plan is otherwise known as disaster recovery plan or a business resumption plan. Business continuity plan is made while the business is running successfully. Crises can be natural (Hurricane, tsunami, earth quick, etc.) or man-made like political unrest, fire, labor strike. The end result of the plan is identification of the risks and the required actions, personnel.

Business ContinuityBusiness continuity plan is needed to support the organisational survival. It estimates that 25% of the businesses, especially small ones, do not service most of the crises that affect their operations because they are not ready. Business continuity plan not only ensure the organisation’s survival but also minimise the crises impact on the business. Employees and customer will be more loyal to the organisation and its brand knowing that the organisation will always deliver its products or services during difficulties and crises.

Expert in risk management with experienced employees in the organisations uncover the potential risks sounding the organisation’s operations. Each risk is classified according to its severity and likelihood. The risk is later treated according to its ranking. Organisation appetite toward the risk will decide to either avoid, control, accept or transfer the risk. The risk treatment is intended to find the principal actions, personnel and services needed to manage the incident and the recovery process after the incident. Continue reading …

How To Write A Strategy

Strategy Strategy according to Business Dictionary is a plan crafted to reach a goal or solution to a problem. Strategic planning takes the form of defining the organisation overall direction and allocating its resources and capabilities to achieve its mid to long-term gaols. A simple example would be the act of traveling by car from city A to city B. The resources required would be a car, map, money, food and drinks. The strategic objective would be reaching city B safely at set time with the lowest cost and effort. The strategic planning take place before the trip start detailing the main route to take and an alternative route. The plan should include when and where to stop for fuel, food and rest. The organisation should do similar planning for its mid and long-term strategic objective. Continue reading …

Stratgy Model

Simplified Business Coaching

Businbusiness_grey_stickmen_shake_hands_pc_800_clr_1570ess coaching provides the business owner time and space to stand down and reflect on the overall business. Business coaching will give the leadership team the opportunity to voice their concerns, discuss their challenges, and future circumstances. Business and personal coaching are similar, to some extent, to sport coaching because the coach will help the individuals to discover their true capabilities and overcome mentally set limitations. 

Business and personal coaching are both build on the trust between the coach and the client. A professional coach asks the right question at the right time to provoke the client thoughts and imagination. Business coaching is located between therapy and consulting. The coach’s power-questions inspire the client to search through his or her experience to find new answers and the means to overcome the challenge or solve the problem.

For more information on coaching and to request a free professional online coaching session please click here.

 

What is Value Proposition

Value Proposition

Value proposition is the main reason costumers seek a specific product or service over other competitors. It represents the value expected for the cost the costumer is prepared to pay. The expected value should equal or exceed the perceived cost. The company should offer a single or a mix of products or services that benefits the targeted customers who will be in a position to distinguish the product or service from the available products and services available in the market. The customer should find the value of what the company is offering and this value must equal or exceed the cost of what the customer is willing to pay for it. The company needs a proof that the product or service worth the cost to build the customer relationship that sustains customer satisfaction and sales repeatability.

 

Let Them Feel Proud

We like to hold down to our ideas and tell everybody that we are right when they are wrong. But we can let others be right, even if it is not true just to make them happy and we have a piece of mind.

heart_made_of_words_16158 (1)When I was ten years old I use to trim my hair ate the nearby barber. But when I go to another barber to cut my hair he would ask me the usual question “Who cut your hair last time?” I would name the barber shop and he would quickly point out how badly that barber cut my hair and missed a spot without cutting. I usually smile or at lease agree with him just simply because he holds my head at that moment with scissors moving fast!! Sometimes the barber asks the same question while, but I answer immediately, “It was you cut my hair last time, but why?” The barber will be silent until he finish cutting my hair. I might feel smart with my answer, but the barber usually punishes me by not spraying me with his usual cheap cologne.

I am in Singapore now and I have to take a different taxi every morning from the hotel to National University of Singapore (NUS). I have a map to show the taxi driver to take me to the right building in NUS campus. Every taxi driver would look at the map and then take me through a different route to the same building and when we arrive there he will say something like “if I followed your map we would be late and …”. The directions on the map were prepared by the NUS staff and I am sure that they selected the best route to the building. I could argue with the taxi driver that he was wrong and yesterday’s driver said the same but I usually agree with driver and just pay the money and wish him a good day.

Arguing with the barber, taxi driver, or co-workers over obvious things may make you feel better but will consume your time without gaining any value over the argument. You might be right and they are wrong, you might have the supporting evidence, but agreeing with them will make them feel proud. Always agreeing with the others when no risk is involved, you will get what you want and they will feel proud.

دراسة حالة ” سائق أبو جاسم “

اfigure_rear_view_mirror_11283ستخدام “دراسة الحالة” يعتبر أحد الطرق التعليمية الجديدة لمناقشة مشكلة أو موضوع وإيجاد الحلول المناسبة بالاستعانة بعدد من الخبرات المتفاوتة، وقد اشتهرت مجلة هارفرد بعرض “دراسة حالة” شهرياً، ملحق بها الرأي الخاص بما لا يقل عن ثلاث خبراء في نفس المجال، وأغلب الدراسات المذكورة في المجلة تنتهي بوضع محايد يحتمل الخطأ أو الصواب، مما يتيح للقارئ  حرية  إبداء رأيه فيها. وفيما يلي نعرض لكم “دراسة حالة” لأحد الأوضاع التي نعيشها في مجتمعنا الكويتي، نسرد فيها المشاكل التي تواجهه بهذا الخصوص، متمنين منكم مشاركتنا بآرائكم للحصول على “دراسة حالة”مثمرة من مختلف الجوانب.

يعمل أبو جاسم بإحدى الشركات النفطية التابعة لمؤسسة البترول الكويتية وقد أمضى ما يقارب 10 سنوات من العمل بنظام الوردية، وقد زادت مسئولياته بعد أن تزوج وقام بتكوين أسرة، حيث يقوم بتوصيل أبنائه إلى المدارس والأندية الاجتماعية والصحية وشراء مستلزمات العائلة.

قرر أبو جاسم بعد أن تم منحه الزيادة الأخيرة للرواتب ومشاركة النجاح، شراء سيارة أوروبية فارهة إضافة إلى سيارته العائلية، بحيث تستخدم الأخيرة لتوصيل الأولاد والمشاوير الأخرى، لذا فقد دعت الحاجة إلى الاستعانة بسائق للسيارة، وقد تم تجهيز غرفة له بالمنزل حتى يتواجد على مدار الساعة لخدمة العائل

القرار بعد المشاورة

بعد مشاورة أم جاسم قرر الاثنان استقدام سائق من إحدى الدول الآسيوية للعمل لخدمة العائلة، فتوجه أبو جاسم لإحدى مكاتب جلب العمالة ودفع مبلغ ليس بقليل لاستقدام أحدهم وكان موعد وصوله بعد 40 يوما، وخلال هذه الفترة عانى كلاً من أبو جاسم وأم جاسم الكثير من عبء توصيل الأولاد، ولكن من حسن حظهم أن أبو جاسم كان يعمل بنظام الوردية، حيث يقوم بتوصيل الأولاد للمدرسة صباحاً ويعيدهم منها ظهراً وذلك حينما لا يكون موعد عمله خلال وردية الصباح، مما ساعد أم جاسم أن تتولى مسؤولية المشاوير الأخرى بعد الظهر.

بعد مضى 40 يوم، وصل السائق الجديد “عبدالمعين” فاستقبله أبو جاسم استقبال الأبطال، وكانت المفاجأة أن رخصة قيادة “عبدالمعين” غير صالحة للقيادة في دولة الكويت، مما يتوجب إصدار رخصة جديدة له، بالإضافة إلى أنه مارس القيادة بالدول الآسيوية – أي القيادة بالجانب الآخر من الشارع – وقد استغرق أبو جاسم أسبوع من وقته الثمين لإصدار الفحوصات والتأشيرات اللازمة وتخليص المعاملات حتى يتسنى لـ “عبدالمعين” الحصول على موعد لتقديم فحص قيادة، وقد تحدد الموعد ليكون بعد شهر.

قام أبو جاسم باستغلال هذه الفترة لتدريب “عبدالمعين” على القيادة في الكويت متى ما سنحت له الفرصة، وجاء اليوم الموعود وتقدم “عبدالمعين” لفحص القيادة إلا أنه كاد أن يتسبب في حادث أثناء الفحص وأشار الفاحص بوزارة الداخلية أن عبدالمعين لم يتلقَ التدريب السليم حتى يستطيع تجاوز الاختبار، فنصح الفاحص أبو جاسم أن يستعين بمدرب محترف حتى يضمن سلامة أولاده وسلامة السائقين الآخرين بشوارع الكويت.

بعد تردد استسلم أبو جاسم للواقع المرير ودفع مبلغ ليس بسهل لإحدى مكاتب تعليم القيادة، وأيضاً دفع رسوم الاختبار الثاني والذي تم تحديده بعد شهر. خلال هذه الفترة كان عبدالمعين يسكن بمنزل أبو جاسم وهو يصرف على مأكله ومشربه وملبسه دون أن يستفيد منه كسائق بالإضافة إلى توصيله، ولكن جاء الفرج بعد اجتياز عبدالمعين للفحص الثاني واستلام رخصة القيادة وابتدأت مرحلة جديدة.

فرح أبو جاسم وأم جاسم بهذه المناسبة واسترد أبو جاسم سيارته الفارهة من أم جاسم وسلَّم عبدالمعين سيارة العائلة القديمة وبدأ بدوره بالاهتمام بتوصيل الأولاد للمدرسة. في اليوم الأول تأخر الأولاد عن طابور الصباح لأن عبدالمعين أضاع الطريق، وفي اليوم الثاني تأخر الأولاد أيضاً عن طابور الصباح لأن عبدالمعين اتبع توجيهات أم جاسم للوصول للمدرسة بالطرق المختصرة، ولكي تنتهي هذه المشكلة قرر أبو جاسم أن يرافقهم للمدرسة في اليوم الثالث ليتأكد من معرفة عبدالمعين للطريق بالضبط وبالتالي يصل الأولاد بالوقت المناسب، وقد ارتاح أبو جاسم وأم جاسم في اليوم الرابع والخامس حيث وصل الأولاد إلى المدرسة دون تأخير.

الاسبوع الثاني

في الأسبوع الثاني تأخر عبدالمعين بالاستيقاظ من النوم بسبب عدم حصوله على منبه، فاشترى له أبو جاسم منبهان، فمرت باقي أيام الأسبوع الثاني بسلام. واستعد الأولاد للذهابcar_crash_9889 للمدرسة في بداية الأسبوع الثالث، إلا أن عبدالمعين تأخر، وذهب أبو جاسم يطرق عليه الباب ووجده يتجهز للخروج، وعند سؤاله عن سبب التأخير أجاب بأن أم جاسم طلبت منه الاستحمام يومياً ليظهر بمظهر ورائحة طيبة، فعقب أبو جاسم وقال له بأن هذا شيء طيب ولكن يجب عليه الاستحمام مساءً حتى لا يتأخر عن الأولاد، وفي اليوم الرابع اشتكى عبدالمعين من المرض وأنه لن يستطيع قيادة السيارة، فطلب منه أبو جاسم إحضار اجازة مرضية، مفسراً أنه قد مرت عليه الكثير من حالات التمارض خلال فترة عمله، فتوجه عبدالمعين إلى المستوصف القريب من المنزل وحصل على اجازة مرضية مدتها 3 أيام من الطبيب الذي صادف أن يكون من نفس البلد الآسيوي الذي حضر منه عبدالمعين، وقدمها لأبي جاسم وتحمل أبو جاسم بدوره مسؤولية التوصيل ريثما يتماثل عبدالمعين للشفاء وهو راقد بغرفته ويشاهد التلفاز. ومن حسن الحظ أن كان يومي الأربعاء والخميس هما يومي راحة لأبي جاسم فلم يؤثر ذلك على عمله.

الاسبوع الرابع

وفي الأسبوع الرابع تعافى عبدالمعين وقام بمزاولة مهامه بكل حيوية ونشاط إلا أنه قد تأخر عن موعد خروج الأولاد من المدرسة في اليوم الثالث، وعندما سأله أبو جاسم عن السبب أخبره عبدالمعين أنه ذهب للمستوصف لإجراء بعض الفحوصات لأنه يشكو من آلام في أسنانه.

وأخذ عبدالمعين يشتكي من الآثار المترتبة على قيادته المستمرة للسيارة وقضائه لحوائج العائلة، حيث قدم لأبي جاسم في مساء آخر أيام الأسبوع الخامس اجازة مرضية مدتها 3 أيام لأنه يشتكي من آلام بالظهر والتي يدعي أنه تعرض لها بسبب الكرسي الغير مريح للسيارة القديمة التي يقودها، كما قدم اجازة مرضية أخرى في نهاية الأسبوع السادس مدتها يومان – من نفس الطبيب الآسيوي – لأنه يشتكي من آلام بالرقبة بسبب القيادة ليلاً نهاراً.

طالب عبدالمعين أبي جاسم بدفع المخالفة المرورية التي حصل عليها في اليوم الأول من الأسبوع الثامن، حيث أنه لم يكن ينوي مخالفة الأنظمة والقوانين إلا أن أوامر أم جاسم أوقعته بهذه المشكلة، موضحاً أنه وهو في طريقه لإيصال الأولاد للمدرسة صباحاً اعترض طريقهم حادث مروري تسبب في تعطل السير، ولاحظ عبدالمعين استغلال بعض السيارات لمنطقة الأمان بغرض تفادي الازدحام بالوقت الذي كان يخبر فيه أم جاسم عن احتمال تأخر الأولاد عن المدرسة، فطلبت منه استخدامها – منطقة الأمان – كغيره من السائقين حيث أنه من الضروري إيصال الأولاد في الوقت المناسب للتأكد من عدم تأخرهم على موعد الامتحانات، ولكن لسوء الحظ كانت شرطة المرور له بالمرصاد، فدفع أبو جاسم هذه المخالفة على مضض.

الاسبوع الثامن

وفي نهاية نفس الأسبوع – الأسبوع الثامن – تعطل إحدى إطارات السيارة مما تسبب في تأخر موعد عودة الأولاد من المدرسة، فاستشاط أبو جاسم غضباً وأخذ يعنف عبدالمعين، حيث أن الإطارات جديدة وتم استبدالها الشهر الماضي، فقام عبدالمعين بإخبار أبو جاسم بعدم اختيار هذه الإطارات لأنها من النوع الرخيص والتي ستؤدي إلى الكثير من المشاكل مستقبلاً، فقرر أبو جاسم متكدراً حزيناً استبدال جميع الإطارات حتى لا يجازف بتأخير الأولاد عن الامتحانات وحتى تبقى أم جاسم سعيدة.

بعد انتهاء الفصل الدراسي الثاني، استعد أبو جاسم وأم جاسم للسفر لقضاء اجازتهم السنوية، ولكن تذكر أبو جاسم أن مزارع حديقة منزلهم سوف يغادر إلى بلده قريباً، فقام بالاستفسار من عبدالمعين فيما إذا كان يعرف بأمور الزراعة، فأجاب الأخير بأنه كان يعمل فلاحاً في بلده، فقام أبو جاسم بتكليف عبدالمعين بمهمة الاعتناء بالحديقة خلال فترة سفرهم.

عاد أبو جاسم وأم جاسم من السفر ووجدا حديقة المنزل مليئة بالزهور والخضروات، وعند استعلام أم جاسم عن الخضروات قال عبدالمعين بأن أبو جاسم قد طلب منه زراعتها ليتمكن من أكلها طازجة، كما طلب منه زراعة الزهور في نصف الحديقة الثاني لتتمكن هي من الاستمتاع بها. لذا فقد طالب عبدالمعين براتب إضافي مقابل الاعتناء بالحديقة وحراسة البيت وإنتاج الخضروات الطازجة، فبادره أبو جاسم بالقول بأنه لم يكن يقوم بمهامه كسائق حينها وقام بمهام الزراعة فقط، وهكذا يكون راتبه مقابلاً للزراعة بدلاً من القيادة لتلك الفترة، ولكنه تفاجأ بعبدالمعين يطالبه بمبلغ عشرون ديناراً حيث أنه قام بجزء من مهامه كسائق، فقد قامت أم جاسم بتكليفه بإيصال أولاد أختها حيثما يريدون خلال فترة سفرهم، وأنه دفع من ماله الخاص مصاريف البنزين وتبديل الزيت وتصليح أعطال السيارة. وعند سؤال أم جاسم عن حقيقة ما يقول، تبسمت وقالت كنت أود استغلال السائق بدلاً من جلوسه دون عمل ولم أعلم بعمله كمزارع أثناء الاجازة.

كما لاحظ أبو جاسم أن السيارة قد تعرضت لحادث، وعند الاستفسار من عبدالمعين عن السبب، أوضح أنه تفاجأ عند استيقاظه من النوم بتعرضها للحادث، وأخذ يذكر أبو جاسم بأنه قد طلب منه مسبقاً أن يقوم بإيقافها داخل مواقف المنزل تحت المظلات ولكن أبو جاسم رفض وأمره بإيقافها خارج المنزل، حيث أنه كان حريصاً على أن لا تتعرض سيارته الفارهة لأي أذى، لذا فقد قيد الحادث ضد مجهول مما ترتب عليه تصليح السيارة من ميزانية أبو جاسم.

وقبل بداية الفصل الدراسي من السنة التالية بيومين، طلب عبدالمعين من أبو جاسم زيادة راتبه الشهري بنسبة 20 بالمائة، وذلك بعد حصوله على عرض من جاره أبو محمد بأن يعمل لديه براتب شهري أعلى ويقود سيارة جديدة أفضل من سيارة أبو جاسم القديمة.

القرار الصعب

اختلى أبو جاسم بنفسه بحديقة المنزل يفكر، هل يزيد راتب عبدالمعين، أم يطلب سائق جديد ويعيد نفس الكرة بتدريبه وتعليمه، علماً بأن عبدالمعين قد طلب منه إخباره بالرد قبل نهاية الأسبوع حتى يتسنى له – في حالة رفضه لطلبه – الانتقال إلى منزل أبو محمد الذي وعده بأن يخصص له غرفة أكبر من التي كان فيها وأن يمنحه جهاز تلفاز مزود بخدمة الستالايت.

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