Monday, October 17, 2016


I volunteer at The Well At Sunnyside and The Bread Of Life, two not-for-profit organizations whose mission is to help less fortunate individuals and families.   The motto of The Well is "Freely Received, Freely Given".  With both of the organizations, there is a core group of dependable volunteers;  others come and go.

During the current election campaign, it has been very difficult to attract and retain volunteers. We did not have this problem in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns nor in the 2011 campaign for SB5.

I reviewed my list of previous volunteers from those campaigns and began calling potential volunteers, fully expecting a good response.  I have been disappointed by the outcome.  I have not finely analyzed the difference, but note a lack of enthusiasm and commitment this time.

It is interesting that the most dedicated volunteers THIS time are three NEW volunteers.  When our young Field Organizer suggested to me that these people "might be willing to do more",  I hooted, "You don't want to beat your good horses to death", to which a friend, a current volunteer, commented, very a propos:  "Or your good jackasses!"

I told her of one of my experiences:  I had a a marvelous group of piece workers who never failed to make their quotas which of course made me look good.  One evening, I knew that I was not going to make "Prime" which was how I was judged.  I turned to my best, most dependable, worker, whose nickname was "Seaweed", and shared my concern, hoping that he would "save" me!   He said, "You know, you beat your good horses to death."  Shocked, I asked what he meant.  He pointed to a less productive worker and said, "You let that guy get away with jacking around and you expect me to make up the difference."  ["jacking around" will be saved for another commentary]

His criticism stung but it literally changed my life.  Yes, I realized had been taking advantage of my good workers and letting the less productive ones "slide".  The next night I began paying greater attention to the others, rather than depending on the good will of my "good horses".  Changing MY behavior actually made me a better, more productive, more professional manager.  

A couple of weeks later, Seaweed called me over to his area and asked, "Have I done something wrong?"  I asked what he meant and he said that I didn't come around  to "shoot the breeze or anything";  and I immediately knew that I would NOT mention the "beat your good horses" incident but realized that he had been missing my "attention".  I answered, "Oh, you know, Leon has me doing so many extra things for him."  Seaweed threw his head back in laughter and said, "You're his ONLY good horse!"


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