Harold Lindsell is known to have said, “What is in the well will be in the bucket.” In other words, you can’t draw water from an empty well. And whatever is in the well will inevitably come up in the bucket. Many people believe the original saying came from a farmer in Tennessee or Texas. It was first printed in the 1930s and became popular again in the 1990s.
As a decision maker in my business, I often think about the people who interact with me on a daily basis and the customers I answer to with my service every day. What value am I giving them, or do I just leave them with no direction?
Here are a few examples of a business leader who had a full well and was pouring you a cool drink of water in your dealings with him. Our head coach of the Georgia Southern football team was Coach Russell. He had the type of person that set the tone and pace every day, all day, for players and coaching staff.
We had what was called “Erk time.” Erk Time was always five minutes early, wherever you were going to be. Everyone always operated on this time schedule. I still operate on this schedule 40 years later.
Also, before every practice on the field, we would have a team meeting. Just before each team meeting, Coach Russell would walk in hot and sweaty, with a mean-ass look that you got just before the snap of the football. He would always say, “Guys, today is a workday. Let’s go to work.” When you stepped over that white line onto the field, you punched the clock and gave 100% for the next two and half hours of your life.
This is the type of drinking well that all of us gravitated to as players, coaches, fans and the local community of Statesboro. He made a decision every day to pour his life experiences, good and bad, into that football program that he started from nothing. On the day that Erk Russell was introduced as head football coach, someone had to go to the local store and purchase the first football because there wasn’t one at the school.
How do you know whether your “well” is full of a sweet, cool drink or a dirty, bitter taste? Look around yourself and see if your organization or business is excelling in the marketplace. See if key people under your leadership are now leading other sections of responsibility with success. Measure how your employees’ standard of living is getting better because of their personal decisions. Notice how your company has the atmosphere of champions that nobody can beat.
These are indicators of what is important for the job that you spend countless hours at every day. But is the well dry, or do you give that bitter and dirty taste of water to the people who love and matter the most? Your wife? Your children? God? Friends? If so, do what you need to do in order to replenish your well. Seek guidance and mentorship. Find your way to the sweetness of the well, and share that.
Leave a Reply