Landrum Human Resource Companies Blog

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

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