In 1899, Elbert Hubbard, a US publisher penned a “throwaway” article after a conversation with his son. He was simply looking to produce some content for a coming publication. The article resonated more than anything else he had or would produce. It has been reprinted millions of times and continues to be sought after today.
What was the “throwaway” article? It was titled “A Message to Garcia”. The story was inspired by the idea that a unknown, low level officer could be considered the “hero” of the Spanish American War in Cuba. Communication was anything but instant in those days yet vitally important. The Americans needed to get a message to the insurgents. To make things more complicated, the exact whereabouts of the leader of the insurgents wasn’t known. Someone had to be tasked to relay communications to the leader of the insurgents. That is, get “A Message to Garcia”. All that was offered was the physical message to relay, the target (General Garcia), and the vague knowledge that Garcia was somewhere hiding on the Island of Cuba. Rowan was the officer assigned this task. Rowan’s strength is that characteristic that Employers everywhere desire. A skill that is never out of style and will be tough for Artificial Intelligence to develop.
When tasked, what did Rowan do? Did he ask who is General Garcia? Where is he? When does this need to be done by? What’s my budget? Why can’t Johnny do this? I am busy. I don’t know what to do? This isn’t in my job description. Can it wait? How about we do this next quarter? What’s in the message? Can’t you do it? Let’s have a meeting to talk about it. No, none of those things. Rowan took the task, owned it, and got it done. He demonstrated the Superpower available to all of us – Initiative. Being able to independently figure out what to do next and repeat until task is complete.
Determining What’s Important Now, to WIN, is the mark of value. Developing the ability to determine one’s next steps/tasks is a distinguishing and desirable characteristic.
Alternately, for Consumers of Canadian Comedic Content, the wise words of Letterkenney offers us – “Pitter Patter, Figure it Out.”
Do you know What’s Important Now for you in 2019? Are you committed to reviewing what you do each day against this to ensure you are driving your efforts towards meaningful outcomes? We’ll look at how to determine this for yourself in the next article. You can find the full text of the article at the following link https://www.nato.int/nrdc-it/about/message_to_garcia.pdf .