2.How to Criticize-and Not Be Hated for It
Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he
came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign
that said “No Smoking.” Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read? Oh,
no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll
appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.” They knew that he knew
that they had broken a rule - and they admired him because he said nothing about it
and gave them a little present and made them feel important. Couldn’t keep from
loving a man like that, could you?
John Wanamaker used the same technique. Wanamaker used to make a tour of his
great store in Philadelphia every day. Once he saw a customer waiting at a counter. No
one was paying the slightest attention to her. The salespeople? Oh, they were in a
huddle at the far end of the counter laughing and talking among themselves.
Wanamaker didn’t say a word. Quietly slipping behind the counter, he waited on the
woman himself and then handed the purchase to the salespeople to be wrapped as he
went on his way.
Public officials are often criticized for not being accessible to their constituents. They
are busy people, and the fault sometimes lies in overprotective assistants who don’t
want to overburden their bosses with too many visitors. Carl Langford, who has been
mayor of Orlando,
Florida, the home of Disney World, for many years, frequently admonished his staff to
allow people to see him, claimed he had an “open-door” policy; yet the citizens of his
community were blocked by secretaries and administrators when they called.
Finally the mayor found the solution. He removed the door from his office! His aides
got the message, and the mayor has had a truly open administration since the day his