During my freshman year in college, I got a job working with the campus landscaping crew for the summer. The supervisor took great pride in the campus grounds. He’d personally won several awards for his green thumb method of planting and pruning.
Every morning, he’d gather his crew together, and tell us our chores for the day. Inevitably he’d say, “Let’s put it this way, I want ….” He’d then pull out his pad, and read his list of items to be accomplished.
He was a decisive man. He worked out a plan of action, and made a firm decision to see it was done as he wanted. As he read his list, he’d check them off. This meant his orders were final. If you did not do your job as instructed, you could expect one warning, and then you got your pink slip (perhaps it should be called a green slip in the landscaping business). He’d been granted the power to hire and fire, and he knew how to wield it.
He’d end the short meeting by saying, “Now that I’ve put it that way, there’s nothing else you have to think about but getting the job done as I’ve instructed.” He’d close his notebook and walk away.
During the day, if someone forgot what to do, another crew member would say, “Let’s put it this way,” and then repeat what the supervisor had instructed.
“Let’s put it this way” became the key phrase that summer.
What was interesting was that his calm, decisive manner, combined with this favorite phrase, was very effective. It didn’t require brainy brilliance to do the job as he instructed. All we had to say was, “Okay,” and then go out and do it the way he put it.
I learned something that summer. I learned what it feels like to be clear with a purpose, and decisive with action. I learned as much from that landscaping supervisor as I did from my college professors (maybe more).
To this day, when I make important decisions, I go over all of the options, consider several action plans, and then make a firm decision by saying to myself, “Let me put it this way, I’m choosing option B and action plan C.” I find myself much more resourceful and efficient when ‘I put it that way’.
Example: When I opened by first restaurant, I said to the staff, “Let’s put it this way, most important is that the customers have fun. If they have fun, they will forgive us our mistakes, and given that we are human, we will make mistakes.” The restaurant was an immediate success because I’d put it that way.
Can you think of a project where you were decisive and successful because you put your instructions of action a certain way and didn’t waver? Will you share your thoughts with us?
Thank you and blessings
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