Hidden heroes

Friday 22 May 2015
Your best talent is often hidden out of sight or sitting quietly on the sidelines. The best managers have a knack for spotting these diamonds in the rough, but how do they do it?
office worker standing by wall and shadow in the wall has a cape like a superhero

Japan’s bullet train system is one of the most complex engineering triumphs of the 20th century. At one point in the 1980s, when Japan Railways East was expanding the network north of Tokyo, one of the new routes, which required drilling a vast tunnel beneath Tanigawa mountain, was delayed because of water seepage through the roof of the new tunnel.

As the contractors pondered on how to address the problem, a maintenance worker (whose name has sadly been lost to history) piped up that the railway workers actually enjoyed drinking the fresh mountain spring water; he suggested that the railway bottle and sell it to supplement the costs of the build.