Friday, February 11, 2011

Help! I am Surrounded By Imperfect People!

I need a double dose of the “Charlie Principle” today. My friend Charlie Goin lives in Woodward, OK. He is one of those characters that you don’t soon forget if you ever meet him. He is one of the most generous and kind spirited people I have ever known. He is also the worst driver in the state of Oklahoma as well as being a world traveler. Charlie is just a character. He shared something with me about 10 years ago that I have since dubbed “The Charlie Principle.”

Charlie and his sweet wife of over 60 years opened a furniture store in the early 1960’s. I am sure there were times when they struggled, but it is now an imminently successful third generation family business. (The store is beautiful by the way.) But I digress. Here is the “Charlie Principle:” As an employer, you will get the most productivity out of employees if you choose to dwell on their positive attributes instead of their liabilities.” Charlie told me on one occasion that the people available for what he could pay in that business were not always the most educated or ambitious young people that the community had to offer. But he chose to focus on their good qualities. He built their confidence. He chose not to dwell on their liabilities of lack of skills. Consequently he has been fortunate to have some of the same employees for many years. Such a principle has contributed to the overall success of the business. How does such an ideal apply to all areas of life?

Whatever we choose to be involved in it will entail dealing with flawed people. I get really tired of pettiness. I got home from a great trip to Torreon, Mexico. I met church leaders there who are operating on a shoe string. I interacted with couples who have minimal support network for emotional and spiritual fortification. And then I came home to a variety of petty concerns. I thought to myself: I will just go right back to Mexico and stay!! That is a poor solution, because that country is filled the brim with flawed human beings. No matter where we go or what we do it will involve dealing with imperfect people. I need the “Charlie Principle” today. In fact, I think I will take a triple dose.

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