My career choice of consulting and training has provided me with a variety of “perks” I may otherwise never have enjoyed. Among those is the privilege of observing, interacting, and contributing to an enormous variety of industries across North America. We’ve had the opportunity to work with leaders of every ilk at every level under most every circumstance.
To increase productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction and employee growth, we’ve shared the wisdom of such notables as de Bono, Deming, Crosby, Juran, Ishikawa, Drucker, Welch, Peters, Covey, Collins, Lencioni, Maxwell, Blanchard, Bennis, and many, many others. No one dares question the combined education, intellect, experience and intuition of these great minds. The many processes, strategies, tips and tools offered by these renowned gurus have changed individuals, organizations, and countries alike.
And yet, without reservation, I would submit the following generational gem as being just as effective, if not even more so, than anything offered by those mentioned here. The question lies not in the value of the content but in the simple application of these words of wisdom.
From what began as the creation of a personal statement of his belief, or Credo, in 1986, best-selling author Robert Fulghum published a volume of essays that reads like the original guidebook for Success #101 and continues to brighten the lives of readers everywhere to this day. One of those essays is extraordinarily elemental in its offering but quite possibly the most powerful strategy ever offered to any culture in today’s workplace. Visualize the organization of your choice and imagine the incredible results that might be achieved if the following strategy was practiced by everyone within that group of potential winners. I have a giant framed poster hanging in my office containing these words of wisdom, framing the photo of a large, red apple like those presented to special teachers. Fulghum’s famous essay, from the book by the same name, should be practiced worldwide. Please read, enjoy, practice and pass on this generational gem.
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK! Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life and work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Why not give this strategy a try in the coming year? You might very well be pleasantly surprised.
We thank Robert Fulghum for allowing us to share his masterpiece. Visit his web site to learn more about the offerings of this insightful writer, speaker, painter, sculptor, and musician.