Weekly Thought – November 14, 2023
Fred gained a reputation as one of America’s finest key note speakers during the 50s and 60s. He continued speaking, writing, and mentoring until his death in 2007. His ability to distill information into usable principles gave his speaking a lasting quality. This week we feature excerpts from a key note address to the Printing Industry of America in 1961.
Nearly every organization runs on habit, just as you do personally. Almost everything you have already done today is done habitually. It you didn’t you would be lost in daily living. This is one of the problems of reorganizations – the habit structure is disrupted and slowed down measurably. The successful efforts take the time to reestablish good habits.
Here are eight habits I recommend cultivating in your business.
1) Create a spirit that will be acceptable to challenges. Don’t support people who come in and tell you something can’t be done. Simply say, “Don’t tell me what can’t be done; tell me what we will have to change in order to do it.”
2) Change is okay… status quo is not. Status quo is Latin for “the mess we are in.”
3) Accept ideas. You as a leader will have to accept a new idea before your organization will.
4) Don’t delay failures. I have a banker friend who told me, “Fred. I never delay cutting short a failure that is funded with my own money.”
5) Get management on the offense. Too often management fights back instead of leading.
6) Develop the habit of good work. The President of a pipeline company said, “This is one of the habits I build into my organization – stepping back from a job to say, ‘That’s good.’” I believe there is a firm Biblical basis for this habit. I read of a young man who saved his younger sister from a burning house. When interviewed he told of his Boy Scout preparation. A reporter asked him what he thought about his action. Confidently he answered “I did a good job.”
7) Examine the things that bring pride, but make sure they are still relevant. I recently consulted with a company who listed all their accomplishments for which they were proud. As we examined them, many were from the past and totally outdated. But because they generated pride they held on to them even though they were obsolete.
8) Work smarter instead of harder. My mentor, Maxey Jarman, always told me “Show me the baby, don’t tell me about the labor pains.” Peter Drucker says that results are the only reason for activity.
I know I haven’t told you anything you don’t already know. My job isn’t to tell you anything new. When someone asks me how I make my money I tell them, “I earn my money by reminding people.” I hope I have reminded you that good habits are a key to successful living. Find one that works for you and make it real in your organization.
This week consider: 1) Which habits have become obsolete and need to be eliminated? 2) What will it take to evaluate the habits of my organization, family, church and focus on the effective? 3) Who can help me (and who can I help) establish better habits?
Words of Wisdom: “Develop the habit of good work.”
Wisdom from the Word: “God saw all that he had made – and it was very good! “ (Genesis 1:31(a) NET Bible)