Andrew Carnegie, America’s first great industrialist, nearly 100 years ago had 43 millionaires working for him – an unheard-of occurrence in those days. A reporter asked him how he managed to hire 43 millionaires. Carnegie responded that none of them were millionaires when he hired them but observed that, “You develop millionaires the way you mine gold. You expect to move tons of dirt to find an ounce of gold, but you don’t go into the mine looking for the dirt—you go in looking for the gold.”
Teacher Diane Chodan sensitively used that approach when Ann, her nine-year-old student, made this statement: “I’m not the best at anything.” Diane felt uncertain of what to say. She knew that Ann was an average student from a large family and that she was a hard worker who gave each subject a good effort. So Diane asked her what she meant. One by one, Ann ticked off the subject and who was best at each one. Then, Diane started thinking about Ann’s good qualities. She remembered how Ann quietly helped the children who struggled with their work, her friendly smile, how she spent time with the unpopular or “slow” students and never ridiculed the handicapped child in the class.
Carefully choosing her words, Diane said, “You are not a bad student. You’re very good at reading and music, and you do pretty well in other subjects as well as in sports. But there is one thing you’re absolutely best at.” Ann looked up in disbelief and asked what. Diane Chodan responded, “You’re kind. That may sound crazy to you, but it’s very important. This classroom is a much nicer place because you are here.” Ann’s benefits were real and immediate, but Diane’s sensitivity made her a winner. Today she takes chances on unusual choices when casting plays, planning class activities, or promoting students and sometimes her results are outstanding. Diane thanks Ann for that.
Think about it. It is important when working with others to concentrate on their strengths not their weaknesses. Be a good-finder, and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!