“If you’re going to win, win graceful.

If you’re going to love, love faithful.

If you’re going to learn, learn by teaching.

If you’re going to fall, fall reaching.”

I scribbled the refrain from this country song in my Bible almost 30 years ago. At the time, I was working on a “plant turn around” and the song inspired an employee incentive program that turned the operation around.

The idea was this: Wherever or however performing, there is probably more that can be accomplished if we try. We asked the team to consider making a team goal/individual goal that they regarded to be a “reach.” If we agreed it was a “reach,” we agreed on an appropriate incentive and the game was on.

The results were amazing. A plant that had been underperforming began to achieve better results than ever before. The energy in the plant was high. Everyone enjoyed their work more. A plant that was in trouble was saved.

I’m struck by the values expressed in the song.

Be a winner, but act as if you’ve won before.

Love others, but do it faithfully and consistently.

Learn, continually learn, but learning sticks best when you share knowledge with others.

I love this scribbled verse because it reminds me of when I was first experiencing the power of leadership and culture in plants like ours.

We’ve come a long way. We did it by reaching beyond our present situation to learn and grow.

Be reaching out there. You’ll be glad you took on that mindset.

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