Issue No. 202 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features an article on delegation and initiative that has been printed more than 40 million times. Imagine! And this reminder, check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Be Like Rowan
Just when you think you know your way around a bookshelf…and you have read all the good stuff…and you can inspire the troops with just the right quotation…someone drops another gem on you.
At my Management Buckets workshop last week, a life-long learner raved about the short booklet, A Message to Garcia, written by Elbert Hubbard in 1899. Half the room had never heard of it (including me). Half the room were Garcia zealots!
So, of course, I googled the title. Wikipedia says more than 40 million copies of this pamphlet have been printed in most every language. One source claims it enjoyed the largest circulation ever attained during the lifetime of an author. What’s certain: there are a ton of the articles out there.
When the U.S. was at war with Spain, President McKinley wanted to contact General Garcia, the leader of the insurgents in Cuba. The task was delegated to Colonel Andrews Summers Rowan, a West Point graduate. The simple assignment: “Carry a message to Garcia.”
It’s such a short story, I won’t spoil the impact for you, but I will mention that the Marine Corps currently lists “A Message to Garcia” as required reading. It is readily available on the Internet and on Wikipedia. No damage to your book budget this week!
After my own quick Internet search, the most helpful resource I found is the Be Like Rowan website that includes an 18-page PDF, “Be Like Rowan,” with the original story, interesting sidebars, background material, several worksheets and full-page inspirational quotations.
Garcia is perfect for a department or all-staff meeting. Distribute and discuss the article and “A Message to Garcia” will become part of your corporate culture. The website also has downloadable award certificates to give to team members for going the extra mile, plus a kid’s version of the story, “Rowan to the Rescue.”
Which half of the room are you in?
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Elbert Hubbard ended his article, “The world cries out for such: he is needed and needed badly—the man who can carry a message to Garcia.” (After you read this article, who would you give the “Be Like Rowan” award to first?)
2) Proverbs 25:13 (NLT) reads, “Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.” In delegating a task (like carrying a message to Garcia), besides trustworthiness and initiative, what other character qualities do you look for?
Delegate Your Reading - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Book Bucket, Chapter 5, in Mastering the Management Buckets is to delegate your reading.
If you have four direct reports, next month delegate four books you’ve been wanting to read to your four colleagues. Give them a month and then ask for a five-minute book review at your weekly staff meeting (one book per week). Do the same drill at the beginning of the next month—and presto—your team will be exposed to the niche chapters and basic themes of 40 to 50 books in just one year. Keep these gems on your staff resource shelf and mentor your team in life-long learning. (Encourage the “readers” to read books and the “listeners” on your team to listen to audio books.)
For the list of my Top-20 books to read, and other book lists, visit the Book Bucket on the Management Buckets website.