Filed under: Mayberry, Notes from Holly | Tags: "human resources consulting", Human Resources, Mayberry
February 24, 2011
Howdy! Thank you to all of the loyal followers of our blog and Holly’s Mayberry Monday blog posts! We hope you have enjoyed the stories and teachings as much as we have enjoyed sharing them with you. In fact, before we kick off a new year of “learned lessons” from the daily lives of Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife, we would like to “re-run” some of our favorite Mayberry Monday posts. We would love to know your favorite Mayberry story. Do you have a favorite episode of The Andy Griffith Show? Share your favorites as we share a few of ours over the next few weeks.
Mayberry Monday – “The Loaded Goat”
By Holly McLeod, PHR
First posted August 9, 2010
Wouldn’t it be delightful if we could count on others to do what they’re supposed to do, motivate themselves, strive for perfection, self-correct when needed, and maintain a sunny disposition and spirit of cooperation at all times? Even in idyllic Mayberry that’s not always the case. For instance, Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife once met a stubborn goat named Jimmy that definitely lived by his own agenda.
In “The Loaded Goat,” Andy and the mayor are talking in Floyd’s Barbershop and we hear the sound of dynamite blasting in the background. Andy and the mayor – that’s Mayor Stoner, the pretentious and meddling one I don’t like –are talking about the work being done at a construction site outside of town to complete the “new underpass.” Local farmer Cy “Hudge” Hudgins walks in the barbershop with his beloved goat, Jimmy.
Hudge loved Jimmy and spoke to him like he was his best friend, which in all probability, he was. Hudge had brought Jimmy to town and, after leaving the barbershop, tied Jimmy up to a bench on the sidewalk and told him to wait there. Hudge then left to run his errands, but as you can guess Jimmy didn’t do as he was told. As goats tend to do, Jimmy chewed through the rope and subsequently walked off. He briefly entered the courthouse after hearing Barney play his French harp (aka harmonica), but Barney shoed him out.
As the blasting continues a little while later, Hudge comes in the courthouse looking for his lost Jimmy. Andy and Barney help him look, and to their horror find evidence to indicate that Jimmy had apparently eaten a bunch of dynamite that was being stored for the underpass project. Upset and embarrassed at Jimmy, Hudge replies, “Ain’t that the way it always is. First time he comes to town, he figures he’s got to do everything.”
As you can imagine, everyone was understandably concerned about having a “loaded” goat running around town with the possibility of exploding (“going blooey”). With the responsibility of protecting the folks of Mayberry, Andy and Barney set out to find Jimmy before he could cause any harm.
While Andy and Barney are out looking for Jimmy, Jimmy comes in the courthouse again. He walks into the jail cell where he encounters a very intoxicated Otis Campbell, who mistakes Jimmy for his Uncle Nat. When Otis realizes Jimmy isn’t his uncle, Otis starts to wrestle with Jimmy to get the goat out of the cell so that he can sleep off his recent revelry. Andy and Barney enter the courthouse and see Jimmy thrashing his head from side to side in anger.
Andy tells Barney to get out his French harp. As Barney starts to play, Jimmy starts to settle down. The longer Barney plays, the calmer Jimmy gets. After a moment or two, Andy opens the door to the courthouse and motions for Barney to start walking. As Barney walks outside while playing the song, Jimmy starts to follow. Andy and Barney, led by Barney and his harmonica, eventually lead Jimmy out to the country where he no longer poses a threat to himself or others.
Now personally, I’ve never been up close and personal with an angry goat. But I’ve got to tell you that I’m not sure I would stick around with one, especially knowing that it was full of dynamite. Hudge did his best to instruct Jimmy to stay put and out of trouble, but Jimmy had other plans. After all, Jimmy was just being Jimmy.
Some employees are like Jimmy. You do your best to guide them, but they march to the beat of their own drum. You expect them to do things a certain way in order to reach collective goals, but the Jimmys of the world think of their own way to reach the goal. It’s quite possible that these employees will even have their own goals in mind, disregarding yours altogether.
When you come across a Jimmy or two in your organization it might be easy to get frustrated, and even cause you to want to give up on them. Don’t be quick to give up. Employees like Jimmy call for guidance, not abandonment. Jimmy isn’t necessarily bad, he may just be a little challenging to manage. Or, it may be that Jimmy is simply enthusiastic and wanting to march forward to finish the job in his own way.
Of course there are some employees who are either incapable or unwilling to follow rules or work toward the goals you set, and that must be addressed. If such behavior continues, you may indeed end up having to let that particular Jimmy go to find other opportunities. However, for most of the Jimmys out there, much of what may be frustrating you is that they are not doing things exactly the way you would do them.
Now tell me… do you want everyone to act, think and do everything just like you? I hope not. Different personalities, approaches and opinions can not only make your organization greater, but some of the most productive and forward-thinking ideas can come from the free spirited employee. There is a short story by B.J. Gallagher and Warren H. Schmidt called A Peacock in the Land of Penguins, which creatively demonstrates why you shouldn’t try to force energetic and enthusiastic employees into a certain mold. If people are working toward common goals, it should be OK if Jimmy or Jimmette wants to do things a little differently – as long as your goals are being met.
What you need is to find ways to steer your employees the way you want them to go. There are many different and positive ways to motivate, inspire, guide, direct and engage employees – too many to address here. Just do a quick Google search on “employee engagement” or “motivating employees” and you’ll find an abundance of resources on the subject. Andy and Barney steered poor Jimmy with a harmonica and a lot of patience. What ideas can you come up with to help your Jimmy?
See you in Mayberry next Monday. Stay tuned…
Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.
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