When people are stuck, they often think the solution is complicated. After all, they can’t see the way out. But often the solution is very simple.
Jerry Van Camp is a pilot who was the chairman of his pilots’ union. The union meetings were held in a room where everyone smoked, ate, and drank coffee. The room was a mess. At one point, the union was negotiating a new contract and the two sides were stuck in a deadlock. Meeting after meeting had taken place without reaching an agreement.
One night, before a crucial meeting, Jerry went into that room and cleaned the whole area himself. He vacuumed, dusted, and rearranged the chairs. He placed flowers on the table. The chairman became the servant, and the next morning the energy in the room had shifted. The air was clear. It felt good to be in that room. Fresh thoughts seemed to spring forth from the atmosphere and the negotiators discovered a perfect solution.
This story is from the chapter: Be Attractive in To Lead is to Serve, a book full of simple but wise solutions for nonprofit leadership.
Shar McBee, author of “Joy of Leadership”