You Can't Send a Duck to Eagle School
A few years ago I had lunch with a top executive from a company known for their legendary retail service. My wife and I are both huge fans, and over lunch I shared with him some of the great service stories his people had provided the Anderson family.
I said, "With the service your people give...you must have a training manual 2 inches thick." He looked up and said, "Mac, we don't have a training manual. What we do is find the best people we can find and we empower them to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer."
Then he said something I'll never forget. He said, "We learned a long time ago that you can't send a duck to eagle school."
"Excuse me," I said. He repeated..."You can't send a duck to eagle school." He said, "You can't teach someone to smile, you can't teach someone to want to serve, you can't teach personality. What we can do, however, is hire people who have those qualities and we can then teach them about our products and teach them our culture."
As long as I live I will never forget this simple analogy about hiring people. It is branded on my brain forever. And since that day, with every hiring decision I've made, I find myself asking the question: "Am I hiring a duck thinking they will become an eagle?"
A man was lost while driving through the country. As he tried to reach for the map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch. Thought he wasn't injured, his car was stuck deep in the mud. So the man walked to a nearby farm to ask for help. "Warwick can get you out of that ditch," said the farmer, pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the decrepit old mule and looked at the farmer who just stood there repeating,
"Yep, old Warwick can do the job." The man figured he had nothing to lose. The two men and the mule made their way back to the ditch. The farmer hitched the mule to the car. With a snap of the reins, he shouted,
"Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick!"
And the mule pulled that car right out of the ditch.
The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule, and asked, "Why did you call out all of those names before you called Warwick?"
The farmer grinned and said, "Old Warwick is just about blind. As long as he believes he's part of a team, he doesn't mind pulling."
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to obtain uncommon results.