This summer my wife and I got a family dog. Adding the puppy to our family of little boys (ages 4 and 2) and a 12 year old cat has been…fun. Actually it has. Potty training the dog…not so much…but everything else has been wonderful. As fate would have it the morning walk seems to have become my domain, while my wife handles the evening walk. It is on these walks with the dog that I noticed something.
Our walks take approximately 30 minutes. The dog generally poops within the first 5. This means that for at least 25 minutes I’m carrying a fresh, steaming bag of dog poop around. First thing in the morning. Before coffee.
On some mornings I’ll pass garbage cans throughout the neighborhood or various construction vehicles and for a second…ok…for a minute…I’ll ponder just tossing the bag of poop in there and being done with it. But I don’t. I try to be a good neighbor and I take it home and dispose of it in my own garbage can.
On one of these recent walks, while carrying the bag of poop around my neighborhood, I started thinking. Are there other times in my life I’m carrying a bag of poop around? How often do we find ourselves early in our journey being handed a bag of poop? Have you ever started a job and just been told: “that’s how we do it here”? That’s a bag of poop. Have you ever started a relationship (I’m using this term in a broad sense…plug in any sort of relationship you want) and been told “this is just how I am”? That’s a bag of poop.
I took this a step further. I thought about what companies would be like if owners and managers allowed…expected…their people to dispose of loads of poop as soon as they realized they had them. I thought about all sorts of relationships: families, parents to children, marriages, friendships, coworkers…I thought about these relationships sans bags of poop.
Does it sound far fetched? Does it sound unrealistic? Why? I carry a bag of poop around my neighborhood every morning because it’s the neighborly thing to do. But at my first appropriate opportunity, I offload that literal crap and be done with it. Why do we…why do I…not do the same thing with the figurative crap in our lives? In our businesses?
I challenge you to examine yourself. Look at your work. Examine your home. Investigate your life and relationships. Where are you carrying unnecessary bags of poop around and where can you appropriately, and quickly, dispose of them? Spouses, family members, trusted friends, maybe a boss or other business leader, pastor or clergy…If you aren’t sure where to go feel free to let me know. I’ll do what I can to connect you with the appropriate “garbage can” if you will…so that you can properly and finally dispose of any bags of poop you’re carrying around.
By the way…I’m going to be doing the same exercise I just challenged you to do. I have a feeling that things are going to start smelling a lot better around here…