This is the final installment from my conversation with Jimmy Collins. Creative Followership is a concept he has been practicing for close to 70 years. It has been an honor to share this great program with my readers. I encourage you to go back to Parts 1 & 2, read this series but more importantly visit his website, buy his books, Creative Followership and Jimmy’s Stories and get to know Creative Followership! Here Jimmy discusses the origins and impact of Creative Followership
On my first day of my first job, I was 12 years old. I came from a low-income family and I was hired to deliver groceries on a bicycle.
This was 1948. Things were different in 1948 and neighborhood grocery stores delivered groceries on bicycles. The first day on the job, I learned why Mr. Brown hired me. You know why? He hired me to do the things he did not like to do. He didn’t like to wash the windows, sweep the floor or carry out the trash and he certainly didn’t like to deliver groceries on a bicycle. He hired me to do that! I realized then that if I do the things my boss does not like to do, I’ll be able to keep this job and he will continue to pay me. I did that on every other job all the way through. When I went to work for Truett Cathy, I worked in the shadow. I was not a figurehead person there. Truett was the figurehead. People would come to the office in the early days and Truett would introduce me “This is Jimmy Collins” and people would ask- what do you do here? And I would tell them “I do whatever Truett does not like to do” You know what Truett would say? ‘I don’t like to do very much”. Now, we played that out hundreds of times over the years, but it is the truth. That’s what I try to teach people in the workplace to do. If you want to be a Creative Follower, you do the things the boss does not like to do and you will make yourself valuable there. The boss likes people who do things that he or she does not like to do. You will get better assignments, you will get raises, you will get promotions, and you will get good performance reviews. Then you’ll want to (at the appropriate time- being subtle about it) begin to do the things the boss does not do well. You’ve got to be a little more careful how you approach that of course, but when you do that, you make yourself very valuable. How many people are being taught that in school?
I have a degree in Business and I was never taught that. In fact, before reading your book, I mistakenly thought my priorities were the things my boss liked to do, his priorities came first. It turns out all I was doing was making myself redundant.
You were competing with him.
At best, I could have been considered a spare tire. After reading your book, I started noticing things he did not like to do – things he considers lower priority. However, now that I’ve started practicing Creative Followership, the workplace is better and our relationship is better. I’ve made myself more valuable. Now there are some things I am relied on to do. If I ever wanted to leave, I’d need to give well more than 2 weeks’ notice because I’d have to train a lot of people to do a lot of things.
Exactly, and that’s a concept that is so easy to grasp. It is not hard to understand. What disappoints me in so many of the business books I’ve read is: The Business books want you to believe they are conveying secrets to you. There are no secrets. There are just some things I don’t know, that you do and things other people know, that I don’t know yet. But there are no secrets. When we put these things out and we keep it simple, people grasp it. One thing that really troubles me, and I see it in so many business schools, the teachers there have no real-life experience in business. They are teaching as observers, they’ve done major research, they’ve watched, or are readers who have read the book and they are repeating what they have read in the book.
So, I find that when I’m able to get with folks and share Creative Followership, they can get excited about it. One young lady told me after we had spoken “You know – I can pay attention to you because you are authentic. When you talk about it, you’ve done it and I know you’ve done it and I can believe I can do it” That’s what we are trying to do! Convince people – You can do this! That is my passion. That is my mission – to help people understand this is something they can do and when you do this, you are going to experience great benefits from it, not just monetary but also personal benefits. When we do things and we know we do them well, it makes us feel good. It makes us perform better.
Thank you, Jimmy! I appreciate you taking the time to share.
I encourage all my readers to visit Jimmy’s website http://CreativeFollowership.com/ to start their journey with Jimmy and Creative Followership!