Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
What I know…
Not much it seems. I
am so confused. Seems when I was younger, I knew all sorts
of things. Now I struggle to find anything I know…for sure,
I mean. And one area – one question in particular – haunts
me constantly. How is it – why is it – that some people
seem to be so effective? And others are not. They both
work in the same buildings, teach the same kids, train the
same horses, work in the same business, and some do well –
and others do not. Why is that?
One man or woman can get seventh-graders to do
anything, and the kids never make a sound. Another is
pulling her hair out, and the room is filled with chaos.
One guy can get “it” from a horse, and another can only say,
“I’ve tried everything I know. He’s no good.” What on
earth is different?
Some thirty miles south of where I live a community of
30,000 has a Healthcare system. The facility is older but
beautiful, staffed with highly qualified personnel, and they
possess all the latest technology. The community loves the
place. Rave reviews. Some thirty miles north of where I
live a community of 30,000 also has a Healthcare system with
brand new buildings, highly qualified staff, and all the
high-tech equipment anyone could ever want. The community
hates the place.
“Don’t go there,” they say. “They will kill you.” Hmmmm…
Why is that? I have an idea…maybe.
We do a terrible job of preparing people for
We don’t tell them what works - ‘cause we haven’t thought
about what works.
I don’t mean just schools. I mean schools,
parents, higher educational institutions, businesses…and
me. We all do a poor job of preparing people for leadership
roles. Sometimes we get lucky and get a good one. Rare,
but it does happen. Those good ones change our lives. The
good ones help us change our ways. They make us well.
Those bad ones change our lives, too…and they make us sick.
Bad managers, bad teachers, and bad horse trainers have
something in common. They want to be seen as important and
competent. So they bark, they demand, have no patience,
rarely remember anyone’s name, blame everyone except
themselves, take all the credit, and their favorite word is
“I.” Good leaders on the other hand rarely raise their
voice, always ask pleasantly, have the patience of Job, call
everyone by name, take all the blame, give all the credit,
and have two favorite words… “you,” and “we.” Those are the
traits good leaders possess. If the bad ones want to be
important, why on earth don’t they do the things good
Sometimes at a roping, you see a person in the arena
jerking his horse around and kicking and cussing the fool
he’s riding. Why does he do that? Because he wants people
to know it’s not his fault. He wants everyone in the stands
to know he is saddled with a fool. Problem is - everyone in
the stands knows who the fool is - because no true horseman
would ever behave that way.
It’s common to see the same thing with working dogs.
When the dog doesn’t respond correctly, the handler
administers harsh punishment - and yells and hits. He wants
everyone to know he was just so unlucky to end up with this
But everyone watching knows… the dog wasn’t all that lucky
So in all these years, I haven’t learned much at all…
Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took
Don’t know much geography
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra
Don’t know what a slide rule is for…
But I have learned this…
To do anything of real value…
we must get past blaming the horse and the dog.
(with a little help from Sam Cooke)
Sharon and Rowdy