Landrum Human Resource Companies Blog

Mayberry Monday – Mr. McBeevee
October 11, 2010, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Human Resources, Mayberry | Tags: , ,

October 11, 2010

Mayberry Monday – Mr. McBeevee
By Holly McLeod, PHR

In the mid-1980’s I was an energetic young woman in my first full-time job after college. I was living in Birmingham, AL, and lucked up to find a cute yet affordable apartment located only five minutes from work. Many of my co-workers suffered through agonizingly slow traffic along Highway 280, but I didn’t have to endure the dreaded “rush hour.” Most of my co-workers went out to eat for lunch or brought something from home, but not me; I was able to go home for lunch every day and watch two back-to-back episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS).

Looking back on this time in my life, I realize it was then that my love for TAGS developed. I had seen Sheriff Andy Taylor and the gang many times as I was growing up, but it was during my precious lunch hours that I was able to fully appreciate TAGS and all the lessons it has to offer.

Actor Karl Swenson played the character Mr. McBeevee (shown here)

Accounting for travel time, I usually missed the final few minutes of an episode so I wouldn’t be late returning to work. On one particular day, though, I was so caught up in the story that I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I was watching “Mr. McBeevee,” and it remains one of my all-time favorite episodes of TAGS.

One morning Andy’s son Opie was playing in the backyard and was riding his imaginary horse named Blackie. When it was time for breakfast Opie tied invisible Blackie to the invisible hitching post with some invisible rope. Opie was playing in the wonderful world of Make Believe; a place where anything can happen. When Deputy Barney Fife stopped by for breakfast before heading to the courthouse, Opie made Barney believe that Blackie was a real horse that was “black all over with a splat on his nose,” and had a “silver saddle and a long tail.” After Barney went running into the back yard to see Blackie, he was not amused when he realized Blackie was invisible.

Later in the morning Andy and Barney were at work cleaning the jail when Opie walked in after returning from playing in the woods. Andy asked Opie to take out the trash, but Opie said he couldn’t because he told Mr. McBeevee he’d be right back. After Andy asked about Mr. McBeevee, Opie explained that he was new around there and that they had met in the woods. Barney asked what Mr. McBeevee was doing in the woods, and Opie replied that he “mostly walks around in the treetops,” and that he wears a “great big shiny silver hat.” Andy and Barney both thought that Opie was playing another game of Make Believe regarding Mr. McBeevee.

When Andy went home for one of Aunt Bee’s lunches, Opie came in carrying a small hatchet. Andy asked Opie where he got the hatchet, and Opie said he had gotten it from Mr. McBeevee. Believing that Mr. McBeevee was imaginary, Andy told Opie to return the hatchet where he found it. Opie was disappointed, but he left to do what he was told.

After returning the hatchet, Opie returned to the jail and Barney asked him for a description of Mr. McBeevee. Opie said Mr. McBeevee was about tall as his Paw, that he jingles when he walks – “just like he had rings on his fingers and bells on his toes” – that the jingling was from the twelve extra hands he had hanging from his belt, and that he could make smoke come out of his ears. After this description, Andy and Barney are convinced that Mr. McBeevee doesn’t exist. Opie said that Mr. McBeevee was a real nice man, and then he held up a quarter that Mr. McBeevee had given him.

Andy asked Opie where he got the quarter. Opie saw that Andy didn’t believe he got the quarter from Mr McBeevee, so he suggested that Andy ask Mr. McBeevee for himself. Andy took Opie up on his offer and they both headed to the woods in search of the elusive Mr. McBeevee. When they got there, Opie started looking up in the trees and desperately calling out to Mr. McBeevee. “Mr. McBeevee? Mr. McBeevee, it’s me, Opie! Please come down, Mr. McBeevee. My Paw’s here. I want you to tell him about that quarter!” When there was no response, Opie turned around and looked at his Paw. All Andy said was, “Let’s go home.”

When they got home Andy sent Opie up to his room. Andy explained to Aunt Bee that it looked like Opie was in the habit of “stretching the truth out of shape,” and then he headed up to Opie’s room to deal with the difficult situation. When he got there, Andy reminded Opie of the fun he had playing with Blackie the invisible horse, and suggested that maybe the same thing happened with Mr. McBeevee and that Opie had made him up, too. Andy said, “There comes a time when you have to stop play acting and tell the truth, and that time’s now.”

Opie knew he was facing the consequences of Andy thinking he was telling a lie, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his Paw that Mr. McBeevee wasn’t real. Opie told Andy that Mr. McBeevee wasn’t make believe — he’s real. He looked up into his father’s eyes and asked, “Don’t you believe me, Paw?” Andy looked at his son for a long moment, and then he said the best words Opie could have heard; “I believe you.”

Andy left Opie’s room and went downstairs where Aunt Bee and Barney were waiting. After Andy said he had told Opie he believed him, Barney asked him why he had said that, because what Opie had said was impossible. Andy replied, “Well, a whole lot of times I’ve asked him to believe things that to his mind must have seemed just as impossible. I guess it’s times like this when you’re asked to believe something that doesn’t seem possible… that’s the moment that decides you’ve got faith in someone or not.” Barney asked Andy if he believed in Mr. McBeevee. Andy said, “No, but I do believe in Opie.” What a great Paw Andy was!

Andy was still trying to come to grips with the whole situation, and he went out to the same woods where Opie had said he met Mr. McBeevee. In frustration and disgust, Andy loudly states the name that has caused the problem… “Mr. McBeevee!” At that moment Andy heard someone from above reply, “Hello! Somebody call?” Andy looked up in astonishment to see a man climbing down from a tree toward him, wearing a great big shiny silver hat. He said to the stranger, “You jingle!” Realizing who he was speaking to, Andy asked, “You can make smoke come out of your ears, can’t you?”

Andy was so excited to realize that Mr. McBeevee was standing right in front of him in flesh and blood! He quickly realized there was a logical explanation for everything Opie had said about the man. You see, Mr. McBeevee was a utility worker with the phone company. His “walking in the trees” was caused by working on the nearby telephone lines high off the ground. His great big shiny silver hat was nothing more than a silver hard hat. And his “extra hands?” Those were the tools handing from a tool belt – Mr. McBeevee had explained to little Opie that he couldn’t work without his tools, and that he called him his extra hands. Consequently, the jingling was caused by his tools moving around when he walked. Andy was overcome with joy in realizing that Opie had been telling the truth, and with a great big grin on his face he vigorously shook Mr. McBeevee’s hand over and over again.

Sometimes the people we interact with say things that appear improbable. They may be your friends, your children, your business acquaintances, or perhaps, your employees. If you determine an employee is purposely stretching the truth then they should be dealt with appropriately; however, when trusted employees say or do something that calls you to step back and wonder where they’re coming from, it may be an opportunity to show your faith in them. In an article by Jody Urquhart titled Trust me on this: Having faith in employees will boost your organization’s bottom line, Urquhart states, “Trust affects the bottom line — the way you treat employees is the way they will treat customers.” What better way to multi-task, so to speak, than to show faith in your employees, who will in turn help your customers have faith in your business?

The day I first watched “Mr. McBeevee” will live in my memory as I recall standing in front on my television, willing the episode to progress faster so I could get back to work. I vividly remember standing up with purse and keys in hand, anxiously waiting for the episode to conclude so I would know how it turned out. When it was time for me to leave, Andy hadn’t yet discovered that Mr. McBeevee was a real person. How could I leave without knowing the outcome and seeing Opie vindicated for the alleged crime of stretching the truth??? The answer is that I couldn’t make myself leave; and yes, I was late returning from lunch that day. I must defend myself and say that I’m not normally a rule breaker, but thankfully I didn’t get in trouble… but it would have been worth it even if I did!

This week, try to find an opportunity to show faith in someone when logic would indicate otherwise. You might just be surprised at how rewarding it can be when you’re proven wrong.

Have a great week, and 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

Mayberry Monday – Dinner at Eight

October 4, 2010

Mayberry Monday – Dinner at Eight
By Holly McLeod, PHR

One of the most important aspects of being in business is building good relationships. Without them, it would be difficult for an organization to remain viable in today’s society. Think about it… every encounter we have with others has the potential to build or destroy a relationship. Does the bank teller smile and talk pleasantly to you as you hurriedly make a deposit right before closing time? Is the waiter cordial as he takes your order? Do people generally meet your expectations in your interactions with them? Sometimes we need to do things solely in the name of good relationships. The things we’re called to do aren’t always pleasant, but in the name of maintaining relationships we do what is necessary.

Life in Mayberry was no different, and Sheriff Andy Taylor usually did whatever was necessary to maintain good relationships with those around him. He was known to occasionally babysit at the jail when a mother needed to do some shopping; he allowed Otis the “town drunk” to help himself to a cell whenever he needed to sleep off the previous night’s revelry; and more than once he intervened in order to keep Deputy Barney Fife in good graces with girlfriend Thelma Lou. Andy knew the value of relationships.

One time Aunt Bee was heading out of town to visit her sister, and Andy’s son Opie was going on a camping trip. As the family sat down to breakfast before everyone left, Opie was so excited about his trip that he didn’t want to eat his cereal. Andy told Opie, “We don’t waste food around here. When something’s served to you, you eat it.” Opie started inhaling his cereal to get it over with, and then he and Aunt Bee set off on their respective trips.

Andy was looking forward to having the house to himself, but alas, it wasn’t to be. On her way out of town Aunt Bee stopped to get gasoline in the car and asked Goober to check in on Andy to make sure he didn’t get lonesome. When Andy got back from the store to stock up on bachelor food for the weekend, Goober unexpectedly came in with a suitcase. Andy quickly realized that Goober intended to stay with him during Aunt Bee’s and Opie’s absence. With visions of eating smoked oysters and walking around the house in stocking feet quickly fading, Andy did the only thing he could do not to show his disappointment to Goober – he left.

While Andy was gone, Opie came running in the office frantically looking for his scout axe that he had forgotten to pack for his camping trip. Goober was helping Opie look for the axe as the scout master was honking the car horn in frustration. During the confusion, the telephone rang. Goober answered it and impatiently waited for the caller to finish speaking. Goober responded, “I’ll tell him.” The phone immediately rang again, and after the caller had finished speaking Goober replied, “I’ll be glad to.”

That evening after Andy had arrived back at the house, he sat down to a spaghetti supper that Goober had prepared. He enjoyed Goober’s spaghetti so much that he had three helpings. After dinner Goober told Andy he thought there was something he was supposed to tell Andy, but he couldn’t remember what it was. Andy was preparing for a nice and relaxing evening when Goober suddenly remembered the phone calls. He told Andy that Howard Sprague had called and invited him to dinner, and that Andy’s girlfriend Helen had called and “said something about the young people’s meeting.” Realizing that Howard and his mother had probably gone to a lot of trouble to prepare a meal for him, Andy trudged to the Spragues with a stomach already filled with spaghetti.

When Howard answered the door to find Andy standing there, it became obvious that Andy expected to be served dinner. Howard ran into the kitchen to tell his mother, who had already put up the leftovers from dinner and was cleaning the kitchen. She instructed Howard to set the table, and she quickly warmed up their leftovers; spaghetti. Andy sat down to eat, not wanting to offend Mrs. Sprague. He forced down one plate of spaghetti, and Mrs. Sprague then emptied the remaining spaghetti into his place. Andy was visibly miserable from overeating, but he continued to punish his stomach in the name of good relationships.

After Andy got back home, he was moaning from having eaten too much. He was heading upstairs to bed, and the phone rang. It was Helen. Helen wanted to know where Andy was, because he was already an hour late for dinner. As Andy is talking to Helen, Goober realized his mistake; it had been Helen who had invited him to dinner, and Howard had called about the young people’s meeting. Helen was clearly annoyed with Andy, so he immediately headed over to Helen’s where he sat down to his third meal of the evening; that’s right… spaghetti.

By this time Andy is so miserable he can’t force himself to eat, so he told Helen he was on a diet. Also at this time Opie arrived home after his camping trip got rained out. He was hungry, so he went over to Helen’s to eat with them. When Opie got to Helen’s he graciously starting eating a plateful of spaghetti. Helen, clearly annoyed that Andy wasn’t eating, said she was glad that someone liked her spaghetti.

Opie asked Andy if he was going to leave all that food on his plate. Opie reminded Andy of what he had said that morning when Opie didn’t want to eat his cereal for breakfast, and said that they should eat the spaghetti and not let it go to waste. Helen agreed, saying “EAT!” Andy ate. I love spaghetti, but I don’t believe I could ever force myself to eat six helpings of it in the same evening. Andy didn’t think he could either, but he did it in the name of good relationships.

If you think about it, every single encounter we have with others has the potential to build positive relationships. In their book How Full is Your Bucket?, Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton explore the theory of the dipper and the bucket. The concept is this: With every interaction you are either filling (having a positive encounter) or dipping (having a negative encounter) with everyone you encounter. If your encounter is positive, the other person’s invisible emotional bucket is being filled – and so is your own. If your encounter is less than positive, not only is the other person’s emotional bucket being emptied – but so is your own. Therefore, we can conclude that it is in our own best interest to strive for positive interactions with everyone we encounter. Not only will this have a positive personal effect on you, but in building those relationships it will also have a positive effect on your organization.

Poor Andy had his fill of spaghetti, but relationships were more important to him than his stomach. Unfortunately he wasn’t through with his spaghetti feast. When Aunt Bee returned home the next day, she saw that Andy looked pale so she interpreted that to mean he hadn’t gotten enough to eat while she was away. In typical Aunt Bee fashion she immediately went to the kitchen to fix something for him. You guessed it… spaghetti.

I hope you have a great week, and that you start noticing your interactions with others. Now go home and enjoy a spaghetti dinner – just not six servings!

See you next week in Mayberry. 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

Mayberry Monday – 50 Years of Mayberry
September 27, 2010, 10:02 am
Filed under: Human Resources, Landrum, Mayberry | Tags: , ,

September 27, 2010

Mayberry Monday – 50 Years of Mayberry
By Holly McLeod, PHR

This Sunday, October 3, 2010, marks the 50th anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS). What started as a quiet new show on CBS, ended up being one of the most-loved television shows of all time. TAGS ruled the Monday evening line-up for the duration of its eight seasons, and has continued to entertain us for 50 fun-filled years.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with how popular TAGS was (and is), during its original run it received three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series. It placed in the top 10 Nielsen ratings for all eight seasons, earning the #1 slot in the final 1967-1968 season. Don Knotts, who played loyal but sometimes inept Deputy Barney Fife, won five Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In 2002, TV Guide ranked TAGS #9 in its list of the 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. For TAGS lovers, we don’t need all of this supporting data… we just know we love the show!

Some of you may not know that TAGS was actually a spinoff of Danny Thomas’ show, Make Room for Daddy. In February, 1960, eight months prior to the first official episode of TAGS, Sheriff Andy Taylor was introduced to the world when Danny Thomas’ character, Danny Williams, inadvertently ran a stop sign as he was passing through Mayberry, NC. As a big city entertainer Danny got quite a culture shock when he ran into Andy, who was not only the town’s sheriff but also the Justice of the Peace as well as the editor of the newspaper.

When Andy pulled Danny over for running the stop sign, Danny thought he was involved in a tourist trap designed to “salt the poor city slicker.” He followed Andy back to the courthouse, and when Andy changed the sign on his desk from Sheriff to Justice of the Peace, Danny knew he was in trouble. As Andy was about to impose the fine Danny pulled out a wad of money and fanned it out, ready to pay whatever fine Andy gave him. After Andy saw Danny’s bank roll he explained that the usual fine for running a stop sign was $5.00, but for Danny it would be $100 or 10 days in jail. Danny exploded in anger, and instead of paying the fine he chose to spend time in jail. It was while he was in jail that he eventually began to see Andy for what he was – a fair man who loved his family and his town, and who took his responsibilities very seriously.

It was only on Danny’s visit to Mayberry that the absence of Andy’s wife (and his son Opie’s mother) was ever explained. On TAGS it was always assumed that Andy’s wife had died when Opie was just a baby; on Make Room for Daddy it was confirmed. Opie came running in the courthouse crying about his pet turtle Wilfred. Opie yelled, “He’s been murdered!” Opie said that he was in the ice cream parlor and Mrs. Balfor stepped on Wilfred. Andy told Opie that it was Wilfred’s time to go and that we have to learn to live with our sorrows. He went on to explain, “I learned that when you was just a little bitty speck of a baby when I lost your Maw, just like you lost Wilfred.” Little Opie innocently looked up at his Paw and asked, “Who stepped on Maw?”

As Danny watched the interaction between father and son, he realized that perhaps he had made a snap judgment about this particular sheriff. He offered to make a deal with Andy; if Andy gave a reasonable fine, Danny would pay it and be on his way. In response, Andy asked if Danny was trying to bribe the Justice of the Peace! Incensed, Danny returned to his cell intent on exposing Andy for the crook he believed him to be. Danny arranged for a television program to be filmed right there in the jail, and he played up the angle that he was being taken advantage of and mistreated. Andy was standing nearby as Danny was pleading his case in the court of public opinion, but when Danny started complaining about the conditions and cleanliness of the jail Andy could not longer sit idly by and listen.

Andy said that when Danny complained about the jail he was complaining about his aunt who came in and cleaned the jail every morning. The host of the television show asked Andy if it was true that he had imposed a greater fine on Danny that he normally would. Andy confirmed that he did, saying that when Danny took out the wad of money to pay the fine, Andy realized he needed to do something that would get Danny’s attention.

Andy explained that around those parts a $5.00 fine was hard to come by. But for Danny, it didn’t make a difference. Andy said, “There’s a whole lot of fine country to be seen between the city he left from and the city he was going to, and between those two cities is a whole lot of good folks to meet, and a lot of good experiences to be had by a fellow who will take the time to appreciate it.”

Danny was humbled and ended up apologizing to Andy. He misjudged Andy and his motivations, just as you and I might sometimes do when making a quick decision about another person.

Employers can be a lot like Danny, quickly summing up an employee based on perception and not really looking to see potential. I encourage you to take a lesson from Danny; things are not always as they appear, but if you stick around long enough to see what reality is you might just be surprised at what you see.

For all of you TAGS fans out there, we should all say a word of thanks to the late Danny Thomas and producer Sheldon Leonard for introducing the world to The Andy Griffith Show and the wonderful town of Mayberry. We owe a debt of gratitude to you and all the writers, producers, directors and of course actors who made the show great. And we can’t forget Earle Hagen, who composed the famous whistling theme song “The Fishin’ Hole.”

You may have only heard the whistled tune, but here are the lyrics:

♫ Well, now, take down your fishin’ pole and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole,
We may not get a bite all day, but don’t you rush away.

What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin’ stones,
You’ll feel fresh as a lemonade, a-settin’ in the shade.

Whether it’s hot, whether it’s cool, oh what a spot for whistlin’ like a fool.

What a fine day to take a stroll and wander by The Fishin’ Hole,
I can’t think of a better way to pass the time o’ day.

We’ll have no need to call the roll when we get to The Fishin’ Hole,
There’ll be you, me, and Old Dog Trey, to doodle time away.

If we don’t hook a perch or bass, we’ll cool our toes in dewy grass,
Or else pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw.

Hangin’ around, takin’ our ease, watchin’ that hound a-scratchin’ at his fleas.

Come on, take down your fishin’ pole and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole,
I can’t think of a better way to pass the time o’ day.

Such is life in Mayberry. May we all be reminded that joy is found in the simple things in life, and may TAGS continue to entertain and inspire us for another 50 years!

See you next week. 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

Mayberry Monday – Mayberry Days
September 20, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: Landrum, Mayberry | Tags:

September 20, 2010

Mayberry Monday – Mayberry Days
By Holly McLeod, PHR

As a lifelong fan of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) and all things Mayberry, it has been my distinct pleasure to have visited Mount Airy, NC on two separate occasions. Mount Airy is Andy Griffith’s hometown and inspiration behind the creation of fictional Mayberry. In Mount Airy I have eaten a pork chop sandwich from the Snappy Lunch, I’ve had my picture taken with my feet up on Andy’s courthouse desk, and I’ve enjoyed a bottle of “pop” from Wally’s. What I have not been able to do thus far is to visit Mount Airy during “Mayberry Days,” the town’s annual celebration of TAGS and its homegrown celebrity, Andy Griffith.

The 20th anniversary of Mayberry Days is this week, September 23-26, 2010. If you live anywhere near that area of North Carolina, I encourage you to drive up, over or down for what I’m sure will be a wonderful time. All sorts of events are planned, and there will be several celebrity guests such as Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), Doug Dillard (a Darling son), Elinor Donahue (Ellie Walker), James Best (Jim Lindsey, the guitar player), and many more. For more information go to the Surrey Arts Council website. USA Today also wrote an interesting article on the upcoming Mayberry Days.

While I haven’t been able to visit Mount Airy in the autumn when Mayberry Days is scheduled, I have still enjoyed the town and all it has to offer. There is a great hobby shop if you’re a model railroad enthusiast like my husband. And there are many shops to browse in, many having TAGS trinkets and memorabilia. You can have a banana split in the local ice cream parlor or get a haircut at Floyd’s Barbershop (right next door to the Snappy Lunch). You can visit the birthplace of Andy Griffith or go to a concert at the local theater. There are many things to do and see in Mount Airy, and if you’re a TAGS fan I promise you won’t be disappointed.

One day I plan to be at Mayberry Days. But, since my husband is a high school band director and therefore very busy during football season, this will have to be something we look forward to after retirement. Perhaps you won’t have to wait that long.

I hope to meet you next week in Mayberry – or maybe one day in Mount Airy. 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

Mayberry Monday – “Opie and the Bully”

September 6, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “Opie and the Bully”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

Opie Taylor, son of Sheriff Andy Taylor, was your stereotypical young boy growing up in the small southern town of Mayberry. He played football with his friends after school, he went to the “picture show” when there was a good western in town, he was respectful of his elders, and he dutifully did his chores each week. Opie also had his fair share of heartache — especially when he ran across the school bully.

One morning Opie was in the kitchen with Aunt Bee, finishing his breakfast. As he got up from the table he asked Aunt Bee for a nickel to buy milk at school. She grabbed a nickel and gave it to Opie. Opie then walked into the living room where Andy was reading the newspaper and asked him for a nickel for milk. Andy dug deep in his pocket and handed Opie another nickel. After Opie had gone off to school Aunt Bee came in the living room and mentioned that she had given Opie a nickel for milk. Andy stated he had also given Opie a nickel, and decided he would question Opie about it later.

On the way to school Opie was confronted by another boy. His name was Sheldon. Now Sheldon isn’t a name that automatically evokes the image of a bully – not like a Spike, Butch, Rocky or Ace — but Sheldon definitely had Opie cowering. As Opie walked to school each morning, Sheldon would jump out from behind a bush or around a corner and demand that Opie give him a nickel for passing on “his” street.

Opie asked if Sheldon would consider letting him pass by his street for free that day so he could give his Paw back the nickel he owed him. Opie explained that if he gave his Paw back his nickel, he wouldn’t have money to buy milk for his lunch. “And Sheldon,” Opie said, “it ain’t easy getting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich down dry. Yesterday I almost choked!” Sheldon still relieved Opie of his nickel, then threatened him with the proverbial knuckle sandwich if he told anyone. Sheldon walked off and Opie did the only thing within his power to do – he stuck out his tongue.

As Andy was tucking Opie in bed that night he told Opie he wanted to have a little talk. When Andy asked about getting a nickel from both him and Aunt Bee that morning, Opie offered a flimsy excuse about getting an extra nickel just in case he lost one. He then feigned being so sleepy he couldn’t continue the conversation. Andy had no choice but to drop the subject and let Opie sleep.

The next day at the court house Deputy Barney Fife admitted to Andy that Opie had also asked him for a nickel that very morning. Barney decided to get to the bottom of the mystery and followed Opie to school the next morning. He witnessed the bullying first-hand and then he reported back to Andy. Andy had to carefully decide how best to help his son through this ordeal. He could call the other boy’s daddy and take care of this himself, but that wouldn’t help Opie in the long run. Andy had to find a way to help Opie help himself, without letting him know Andy knew about the bullying. He found the perfect way to accomplish his goal.

That afternoon Andy took Opie fishing at a favorite fishing spot and told him about finding that spot when he was just a boy. He fished that secret spot and made all the other boys jealous because of the big fish he was catching. One day a mean fellow named Hodie Snitch followed Andy and told him to leave that fishing spot because he wanted it for himself. Andy said he was scared of Hodie so he left as he had been told to do.

Andy was ashamed he had given up his fishing spot so easily and said he “felt so low that a little bitty ant couldn’t have walked under me.” Andy realized that “it’s fine to give away something because you want to, but not because you’re scared the other fellow’s gonna give you a punch in the nose if you don’t.” Andy reclaimed his fishing spot and Hodie did exactly what he promised he would do – he hit Andy. Andy told Opie he didn’t even feel that knuckle sandwich and realized that “what [he] had been so scared of to begin with wasn’t worth being scared of at all.”

The next morning Opie asked Andy to take an extra set of clothes to the court house with him in case something happened that got Opie’s clothes “tore and messy.” As Opie was leaving he turned around and asked Andy, “You sure you didn’t feel it?” Andy knew exactly what Opie was going off to face, and he was overcome with love for his son. He picked Opie up and gave him a long, tender hug. Andy put Opie down and they looked at each other for a moment, then Opie stoically turned around to leave.

Can you imagine how Andy felt as he watched his son head off to certain danger? How he must have been questioning himself… Have I done the right thing? Should I put a stop to what is coming? What else can I do to help? Your employees may sometimes find themselves in Opie’s position; treading their way through a difficult situation and afraid of the consequences if they make the wrong decisions. Like Andy with his son, it may be difficult to watch a faithful employee head in the wrong direction, especially when you already know the result of your employees’ decisions if they continue heading down the same path.

Sure, it may be easy to jump in to ward off potential danger. But is that in the best interest of your business or your employee? If the consequence will result in harm to your business or business relations, then of course you need to immediately redirect the employee. If the consequence isn’t significant and could result in your employee learning a valuable lesson that will benefit your business in the future, it might serve your purpose better to let the inevitable happen. People do learn from trial and error, after all.

Think back to when you were a child and learning to ride a bike. Someone probably told you to raise the kick stand and to push off on the pedals while holding on to the handlebars. As you listened to your instructor you eagerly anticipated making that first attempt at riding a bike without training wheels; however, until you got moving and discovered how to properly balance on a two-wheeler, being told how to ride the bike didn’t help you very much. You needed the experience of riding in order to master the skill. If someone had always jumped in to keep you from falling, there would’ve been no “error” to learn from. Just as Andy saw the benefit in letting Opie face the bully so he wouldn’t be afraid to face a challenge when it came, there may be benefit in letting employees grow and develop into better employees through trial and error.

Back at the courthouse, Andy agonizingly paced the floor until Opie finally threw open the door with a triumphant grin on his face. He was sporting the makings of a whopper black eye. And yes, his clothes were definitely “tore and messy.” Opie proudly handed Barney the nickel he had borrowed earlier, and then gave Andy his nickel back. “You know what?” Opie asked, “A sandwich sure tastes better with milk!” I wholeheartedly agree.

See you 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

Mayberry Monday – “A Medal for Opie”

August 30, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “A Medal for Opie”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

Mayberry was a town rooted in tradition. Every year the boys of the town – remember from last week that this was a time before gender equality – would eagerly line up in the sheriff’s office to sign up for the annual Sheriff’s Boys Day Race. The youngsters would enter one or more races and wait with much anticipation until the big day came, each with their sights on winning the race and coming home with a prized medal.

Opie was no different when he signed up to run the 50 yard dash. He told his Paw, Sheriff Andy Taylor, and Deputy Barney Fife how he was “gonna get [him] that medal.” Barney bragged to Opie about the fast runner he was when he was younger, so Opie asked Barney to help him train for the race. They worked with a jump rope for a while, then Barney got on a bicycle while Opie ran behind. Of course it didn’t take long for Barney to tire and their roles to reverse, and it was Opie who was running ahead of Barney and his bike.

The night before the race Opie fell asleep and dreamed of running faster than anyone else had ever run. He dreamed of winning race after race, to the point his shirt had so many medals on it that he had to turn around and get one pinned on the back! Winning a medal was so important to Opie that it was all he could think about. To Opie, winning a medal meant that he would earn everyone else’s respect.

At last the day of the race had arrived. The 50 yard dash was the first event of the day, so Opie lined up with the other boys until Barney fired the shot that signaled the start of the race. Opie began running with the other boys, but quickly fell behind. The first, second and third place winners ran across the finish line with Opie still far behind. By the time Opie reached the end of the race, the track was already filled with parents, friends and other well-wishers to congratulate the winners. As the winners’ names were called, Opie slowly walked away with his head down.

When Andy and Aunt Bee returned home they found Opie slumped on the couch. Aunt Bee went to prepare lunch, and Andy sat down to talk with Opie. Andy explained that the important thing was that Opie had tried, but Opie said they don’t give medals for trying. Andy then explained that it’s more important to know how not to win something. “It’s nice to win; that’s easy,” Andy said to Opie, “It don’t take courage to be a winner. It does take courage to be a good loser. You want to be a good loser, you be proud of your friends that did win and you’ll congratulate ‘em for it.”

Opie was so full of pity that he replied, “I won’t. They beat me and they got my medal.” Andy said that if that was the way Opie wanted to be, that was fine as long as they understood each other. He then said something that got Opie’s attention — “I’m disappointed in you.”

To Opie, nothing in the world mattered more than winning a medal. A medal would have shown everyone else that he was best at something. A medal, though, is in the eye of the beholder. People are motivated by different things, but no matter what the motivating factor may be it is still something that must be “felt” by the individual. In the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink, Pink explores intrinsic motivation – motivation that comes from deep inside the individual regardless of what outside motivators there may be. According to Pink, there are three elements of motivation; autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Had Opie really wanted to win that race for the purpose of doing his best, I imagine he may have shown greater sportsmanship to his friends who ran faster than he did. Had Opie not been solely motivated by the medal, he may have realized that preparing for the race had made him a faster runner than before. He may have realized that he was in better shape than before and that he should set his personal goals to do better next year. All in all, what Opie needed was to recognize his intrinsic motivators. If he didn’t possess intrinsic motivation for running, then perhaps he would have been happier pursuing other goals.

After thinking long and hard about what Andy had said, Opie later came to the sheriff’s office to tell Andy he didn’t want his Paw disappointed in him. They shared a heartwarming hug, and Andy asked Opie if he thought about what he had said. Opie said he did, but didn’t understand why he was supposed to be happy about losing. Andy explained you don’t have to be happy about losing. “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. When you lose, that’s where you have to take yourself in hand, showing it ain’t getting you down and that you’re a good sport about it, and that you’re gonna try again.” Opie said he understood, and that he was going to have to try to win the race again next year. Andy replied with the words Opie most needed to hear; “I sure am proud of you.”

Opie finally learned the lesson Andy was trying to teach. We each have goals, and we each have different motivators. Opie’s sole motivator had been winning a medal. He eventually learned the value of not only winning, but in running the race. I encourage you to find what motivates you, then go for the gold!

See you 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

Mayberry Monday – “Ellie for Council”
August 23, 2010, 10:48 am
Filed under: Human Resources, Landrum, Landrum Lagniappe, Mayberry | Tags:

August 23, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “Ellie for Council”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

Ninety years ago this month (August, 1920) the 19th amendment to the Constitution was signed, granting women the right to vote. Many women paved the way to reach that goal including Susan B. Anthony, a renowned civil rights leader who played an integral role in the women’s suffrage movement of the 19th Century, and Julia Ward Howe, an author who wrote and lectured on women’s rights and who also penned the words to “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Since then there have been many gender equality laws passed such as the Equal Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and most recently the Lilly Ledbetter Act. But even in 1960, many years past the days when a woman’s place was “in the home,” things were different than they are today.

In 1960 America was waking up from the innocence of the 1950’s; rock and roll was beginning its heyday, teenagers were gyrating to a new dance craze called The Twist, Xerox introduced its first reproduction machine, John F. Kennedy won the presidential election, the United States sent its first soldiers to Vietnam, my mother only had five children instead of six because I hadn’t been born yet, and an epic television show premiered – The Andy Griffith Show.

As the U.S. was in the throws of the “cold war,” even peaceful Mayberry had its share of political upheaval. Sexual politics, that is. In1960 the stereotypical “fairer sex” was still largely relegated to housekeeping and child rearing. Even though women had been given the legal right to vote for many years, during this time many started to speak up more loudly about gender rights. Ellie May Walker was one of them. Ellie came to

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Mayberry to help her Uncle Fred run the local pharmacy, Walker’s Drugstore, and she eventually became Sheriff Andy Taylor’s girlfriend. When Ellie realized Mayberry’s Town Council was comprised entirely of men, she decided to campaign for a seat at the masculine table.

Male chauvinism was rampant in Mayberry as the men folk became incensed that a female had the audacity to run for Town Council. The ladies of the town were all excited that they would get a female representative in government. The men decided it was in the town’s best interest to ward off this impending disaster. They knew they held the purse strings of their families, so the men came up with the seemingly brilliant idea of withholding money from their wives. To counter, the women knew they also had power over their husbands so they decided to withhold their “wifely” chores like cooking, housekeeping, and keeping their husbands’ clothes all nice and laundered.

Mayberry was in a stale mate. In one camp were the men, bent on stopping the tomfoolery of having a female on the Town Council. In the other camp were the women, bent on making their husbands’ lives miserable unless they acquiesced to voting for Ellie. It was a full blown battle of the sexes. Only Deputy Barney Fife seemed to be unscathed, being the only unmarried man in the bunch. However, his peace quickly came to an end when the other men found out he had signed the petition in order to get Ellie’s name on the ballot.

Even the youngsters got in on the game. Andy’s son Opie mimicked the comments he had heard his Paw and others say about women. It wasn’t until Andy heard his own negative words come out of the mouth of his child that he realized how foolish he had been. Subsequently, Andy had a change of heart and made a speech to rally the others in favor of Ellie. The result was Mayberry’s first female Councilman… I mean, Councilperson.

When “Ellie for Council” first aired on December 12, 1960, the Civil Rights Act hadn’t yet become law, nor had a myriad of other gender equality laws mentioned earlier. It was still legal to make hiring decisions based on gender; it was still acceptable to pay employees differently based on gender; and it was still permitted to have arbitrary dress and appearance expectations based on gender.

1960 was a long time ago, but I’d like to believe we can still appreciate the lessons from that era that Andy and the gang learned about the value of others — at home, in politics, and in the workforce. I would also like to think that Susan B. Anthony, Julia Howe and their contemporaries would be proud of how far we’ve come.

See you 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

Mayberry Monday – “Opie’s Newspaper”

August 16, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “Opie’s Newspaper”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

I had the privilege of growing up in a small southern town. It isn’t Mayberry, but it’s certainly not a booming metropolis like Chicago, Atlanta or New York. It’s bigger now than it was 40 years ago but my Alabama hometown can still boast of a true southern quality of life, complete with high school football games, going out to eat after church on Sunday and, I imagine, a rumor or two circulating among the citizens.

I don’t recall the rumor mill being prevalent while I was growing up, but in some towns it can absolutely run amuck. Mayberry certainly had its fair share of gossip. On one occasion Sheriff Andy Taylor made fun of Aunt Bee and her and female friends’ love of spreading gossip; Aunt Bee retaliated by starting a rumor that had all the men folk in town buying unwanted pairs of shoes because they thought the shoe salesman was a talent scout for a television show. Another time, Deputy Barney Fife saw Andy and his girlfriend Helen Crump kiss outside the jewelry store. He automatically assumed that Andy had proposed to Helen, and organized an engagement party for the two of them. Imagine the embarrassment this caused Andy and Helen when they had to tell everyone they were not engaged, as well as the embarrassment it caused to the townspeople who got caught up in Barney’s well-intended imagination.

Yes, Mayberry indeed had its share of gossipmongers. One of the columns of the local newspaper was called “Mayberry After Midnight” (a favorite of Aunt Bee’s), that listed all of the local gossip with each edition. You can imagine the fodder this provided Aunt Bee and her friends like Clara Edwards and Emma Watson!

Andy’s son Opie and Opie’s friend Howie decided to make their own newspaper, The Mayberry Sun. They printed it in Howie’s garage on a print machine Howie got for his birthday. The first edition of the Sun didn’t sell as well as Opie and Howie had hoped. Well-meaning Barney told Opie they needed to write some “hot copy” — that’s “newspaper talk for stories” — that would sell. Opie and Howie then turned to “Mayberry After Midnight” for their inspiration.

They covertly eavesdropped on Andy, Barney and Aunt Bee, then wrote the second edition of The Mayberry Sun and decided to give it away for free to try to increase future sales. When the unsuspecting trio of influence read the latest copy of the newspaper, they quickly sat up in surprise. Andy’s casual comment about the preacher sometimes being “dry as dust” was there. Barney’s offhanded observation that a jealous man’s wife was a “blonde right out of a bottle” was there. And Aunt Bee’s admission that Mrs. Foster’s chicken a la king “tasted like wallpaper paste” was there. These comments had been made carelessly and thoughtlessly, yet here they were in black and white print for all of Mayberry to see.

Andy and company had no other alternative; they had to go out and try to retrieve each copy of The Mayberry Sun that had been dropped on every front porch on Willow Avenue, Elm and Maple. Along the way Aunt Bee ran into Mrs. Foster, who promptly invited the Taylor family for a supper of leftover chicken a la king. Barney encountered the blonde’s husband, who angrily ran Barney off his property. Andy came upon the preacher who, after reading Opie’s paper, told Andy he figures he had Andy “hog-tied into teaching Sunday School for a whole month of Sundays.”

I believe the Mayberry gang all learned their lesson about gossiping and making careless comments about others. Employees might not be so quick to learn the same lesson. Workplace gossip can be a serious issue and can cause problems within your organization if not sufficiently or timely addressed. Employees can be deeply affected by cruel or thoughtless comments, and sometimes it’s necessary to intervene. Employees should be educated on appropriate topics of office conversation and what constitutes inappropriate gossip, in order to prevent a detrimental outcome to your organization and employees.

Managers and supervisors have a responsibility when it comes to stopping workplace gossip before it becomes a problem. In his article “Facing Down Workplace Gossip,” Robert Bacal, publisher of the newsletter and CEO of Bacal Associates and Work911, points out that managers and supervisors should:

1. Make it clear that you aren’t interested in hearing it.
2. Make it clear that gossip is not appropriate.
3. Improve communication about workplace issues.
4. Talk to individuals privately if they are identified as instigating the gossip.

Opie and Howie actually printed two editions of The Mayberry Sun. After realizing how damaging gossip could be, they threw the other batch in the trash. Later that night Andy, Barney and Aunt Bee, unbeknownst to the others, went to the town dump to look for the other edition. Were they trying to ensure the additional gossip didn’t get in the wrong hands? No, they were just curious and wanted to know what other dirt Opie and Howie had been able to dig up about others around town. Even level-headed Andy isn’t above the desire of knowing something secret about someone else.

We all know that gossip will never be completely eradicated. Employers should let employees enjoy a wholesome allowance of innocent chatter, while not allowing the innocent chatter to become targeted gossip. By doing so, you’ll be helping provide your employees with a healthy and productive work environment.

See you 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

Mayberry Monday – The Loaded Goat

August 9, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “The Loaded Goat”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

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

Mayberry Monday – Poor Horatio
August 2, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Landrum Lagniappe, Mayberry | Tags: , , , ,

August 2, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “Poor Horatio”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

In my experience of watching The Andy Griffith Show, a few episodes stand out as having brought me to tears from laughing so hard. One of those episodes is “Opie’s Charity.” In this episode, Sheriff Andy Taylor learns a valuable lesson when he realizes things aren’t always as they seem.

Andy has been told that his son, Opie, only gave three cents to the Underprivileged Children’s Drive. Andy is embarrassed because he thinks this reflects negatively on him and his position as Sheriff of Mayberry, so he talks to Opie and tries to make him see the error of his ways. The ensuing dialogue between Andy and Opie is so priceless it would only be lessened by interpretation. You can view it here; otherwise, please enjoy the following near-verbatim transcript:

Andy: I’m talkin’ about the Underprivileged Children’s Drive.
Opie: Oh, they collected for that at school, Paw.
Andy: Oh I know they did, and when they called your name you gave the large, generous
amount of three cents. My, that’s big of ya, Diamond Jim!
Opie: Did I give ‘em too much, Paw?
Andy: Too much?
Opie: I could ask ‘em to give back two cents.
Andy: Now looky here! We better talk about this thing. Opie, you can’t give a little bitty
piddlin’ amount like three cents to a worthy cause like the Underprivileged
Children’s Drive. I was readin’ here just the other day where there’s somewhere
like 400 needy boys in this county alone, or one-and-a-half boys per square mile.
Opie: There is?
Andy: There sure is.
Opie: I never seen one, Paw.
Andy: Never seen one what?
Opie: A half-boy.
Andy: Well it’s not really a half a boy – it’s a ratio.
Opie: Horatio who?
Andy: Not Horatio – A ratio. It’s mathematics, ‘rithmatic. Look, now Opie, just forget
that part of it. Forget the part about the half-a-boy.
Opie: It’s pretty hard to forget a thing like that, Paw.
Andy: Well, try!
Opie: Poor Horatio.
Andy: Now look, Horatio is not the only needy boy … Son, didn’t you ever give
anybody anything just for the pleasure of it? Somethin’ you didn’t want anything
in return for?
Opie: Sure. Just yesterday I gave my friend Jimmy somethin’.
Andy: Now that’s fine. What’d you give him?
Opie: A sock in the head.
Andy: I meant charity.
Opie: I didn’t charge him nothin’.
Andy: I meant somethin’ for the joy of givin’.
Opie: I enjoyed it!

Opie went on to tell Andy that his friend Jimmy had made fun of his girlfriend Charlotte. Opie also told Andy he was saving his money to buy her something. Andy replied, “All I can say is if your head can be turned by a pretty face at your age, Heaven help you when you’re grown up!”

All Andy could see was that Opie was being stingy. He wasn’t listening to Opie when he tried to explain what he planned to do with his money. He only saw what he wanted to see. Andy complained to Aunt Bee about Opie only giving three cents to charity, and it was Aunt Bee who helped Andy realize he should have more faith in Opie.

After the admonishment from Aunt Bee, Andy called Opie down from his bedroom (where he had been sent, without supper). Andy told Opie that he could spend his money any way he wanted, even if it was to buy a toy for his girlfriend. Opie then told Andy he wasn’t going to buy a toy — he had noticed that Charlotte’s coat was torn and dirty, so he was saving up his money to buy her a new coat for next winter.

After Opie realized his Paw wasn’t mad at him any longer and that he was going to be able to eat with the family, he asked Andy what they were going to have for supper. Andy said, “Well, you and Aunt Bee are having fried chicken. I’m having crow.” Andy thought Opie wanted to foolishly spend his money on a toy for Charlotte. It wasn’t until he listened to Opie that he realized his son not only understood the concept of helping those less fortunate than himself, but that he was unselfishly saving all of his money in order to help with a recognized need.

No, things aren’t always as they seem. Andy finally saw this when dealing with Opie, but perhaps this applies to dealing with employees as well. A Survey of Trust in the Workplace, conducted by Paul Bernthal with Development Dimensions International, showed that from a subordinate’s perspective, one of the top five trust-building behaviors of leaders is that he/she “listens to and values what I say, even though he or she might not agree.” Likewise, one of the top five trust-reducing behaviors is that he/she “jumps to conclusions without checking the facts first.”

The next time an employee or colleague appears to be doing something you don’t agree with, take a pointer from Andy and make sure you gather all the facts before jumping to judgment. It might save you some embarrassment down the road, and it would definitely go a long way in establishing trust with your staff. Besides, fried chicken is much better than crow.

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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