My wife reminded me today of an important lesson that was taught long ago that has been forgotten. We learn from everything and can learn from anywhere as long as our eyes are open. Being children of the 80’s, a big part of our entertainment was “The Cosby Show”, a cultural phenomenon that brought the nation together to follow the life of an African American doctor, his attorney wife, and their five children. Every episode had a lesson and was entertaining, but yesterday my wife recycled a lesson for our 13 year old son.
Our son loves the Phillies and was scheduled to go to a baseball game. He took out his trusty Phillies jersey that was wrinkled beyond belief . He throws it on an approaches the door. My wife who has a mom – radar that can rival an international airport stops him in his tracks. “Did you iron that shirt?”. My soon answers, “No mom, I really want to get to the game and it’s just the game, no one cares”. Now at this point I know some who would use other methods, namely me. My wife is like a parenting surgeon who uses precision tools, comparatively I am like an unevolved Cro-magnon scraping with stone tools. She continues and pulls out the Cosby garbage can lid analogy and ends “You’re a great kid, smart, polite, outgoing, don’t ruin it by presenting yourself on a garage can lid”. He immediately understands and corrects his actions.
In business and life sometimes we forget the power of Image. Presentation and Image make a difference. Of course, you need substance to back it up, but the most appetizing dinner in the world is unappetizing when presented on a garbage can lid!
For reference below is the episode from which the analogy came. Skip to the 2:18 mark.