“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Reading that quote caused me to reflect on how fortunate I have been to have “teachers” as my leaders in this industry.
I entered the pallet industry in 1983 when I came on with Ridge Pallets as the Human Resources Director. The owners of the company were Al Holland, Doug McLaulin and Gus King.
Being new to business, I didn’t realize how important it was for me to work for bosses who sought to make sure that I understood the business. I got invited to join in meetings to talk about strategy. I was taught about the basics of the business. I was trusted with information concerning costs and profits. It was their belief that the more all of us on the team understood about what made the business succeed, the better we would be in helping them achieve success.
In my experience, it was true. I learned more than I ever imagined I would learn as a human resources guy. I got interested in a broader range of topics. I became more creative in how I worked to get the company better results.
In the balance, I grew in capability and the company had greater success because of the investment that was made in me.
It is an investment to involve others. It takes patience. It takes time. It takes commitment. But, everyone gains.
Franklin’s note to teach and to involve rather than tell is very wise.