At one time or another, we have all heard the saying that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.Recently, I found out for myself. I purchased a bushel of red delicious apples from the Farmers Market. There were seventy-two apples in the bushel. The bushel was left intact in the garage for two days.Upon unpacking the apples, I had 57 great apples, 8 slightly bruised apples, and 8 rotten apples to betossed out. Of course, I started thinking about what would have happened if the apples were un-packedin a timely manner. Could I have saved some by immediately disposing of the rotten ones? How manywere ruined just because they were next to or touching a rotten one? What is the valuablemanagement lesson here?
1. The Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 rule applies once again. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, sparsity-of-effects principle) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Who are the 20%
rotten apples on your team?
2. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today – odds can be increased by acting immediately. Two days wait, cost me eight. Do you think waiting longer would have cost me more? Who are you waiting to address a performance issue with that continues to impact other team members in a negative way?
3. You can save some by tossing out the rotten one’s early. Ever notice how your good apples shine when the rotten ones are gone? Have you ever thought of the valuable team members you lost because of not addressing the rotten ones sooner or not at all?
4. The eight slightly bruised were almost perfect. By concentrating on their perfect part, and downplaying the one little imperfection, my perfect apples increased to 90%. For those eight apples, we ate them first enjoying the part that was perfect and delicious. How many times have you concentrated on the small imperfection of a team member without utilizing their numerous strengths and good parts? Do you concentrate on the good?
Don’t let the rotten apples spoil the others. Address issues immediately to avoid the loss of others. Find the good in those that are slightly bruised. Enjoy your harvest.
I had the privilege of teaching and leading a group of twelve boys in 4th and 5th grade in the first semester of the school year. They go to a private Christian school and they have the option to select a club as an elective class held twice a month for 40 minutes. They can choose from a variety of clubs – Fitness, Robotics, Technology, Crafts, Profit, Drama, and Chorus. The boys and girls pick the club that interests them and they participate for a whole semester. It is a wonderful way to provide them with an alternate way to learn and apply what they are learning. The group leaders are parents or teachers that volunteer their time to share their passion and expertise.
The Profit Club gives me the opportunity to teach business skills to these young students. Each semester, we start with the basics. They transform their desks into a conference table and the classroom becomes a conference room. The ruler becomes a talking stick and they must have the ruler to speak and avoid two people talking at once. They learn to have an agenda or they do not have a meeting. Brainstorming becomes their favorite agenda item. Presenting their ideas back to the decision maker (school Principal) is a welcomed task. They know the objectives of the club before they select which one to join and we go over them at each meeting. The objective of the profit club is to:
- Learn about Pricing
- Pick a product or service
- Help others – “Be a Prophet” – donate to missions
Of course, they learned a whole lot more and I think I learned as much as them or possibly more. This past semester consisted of 6 total 40 minute meetings and them running a school store that sold healthy snacks. They were open for 27 days for 20 minutes before school. They invested 5.4 hours of time and made a profit.
Recently Yahoo CEO announced free lunches for employees to help boost morale. A great idea and change to show people they are appreciated. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
A great example of treating each person with dignity and respect. Every life really does have a story.