How to get an MBA

Most everyone remembers Dave Thomas who was the Founder of Wendy’s. We see his successful fast-food stores everywhere. However, some people do not know the complete story of Dave Thomas. Dave Thomas may have become a wealthy man, but he was born an orphan and was adopted at 6 weeks of age. This gracious man, who was not afraid of hard work, once appeared on the cover of a Wendy’s annual report dressed in a knee-length work apron sporting a mop and a plastic bucket. When asked why he would do that, here’s how he described that picture. “I got my M.B.A. long before my G.E.D. At Wendy’s, an MBA doesn’t mean Master of Business Administration. It means Mop Bucket Attitude.” He described his Mop Bucket Attitude as a mind-set of a servant who’s willing to do anything that will minister to and build up others. Unfortunately, some business owners haven’t adopted that same Mop Bucket Attitude.

Occasionally, I get a chance to visit yards or speak at a convention. During that time, I try to uncover ways that will help build those people up rather than looking for ways to push them down. That was also Dave Thomas’ attitude, and he knew what it took to be successful. Dave led by example and never asked an employee to do what he wasn’t willing to do himself. If a true leader is not willing to do something himself, then he shouldn’t ask his employee to do it either. A leader should be the biggest team player, coach, and cheerleader on the team. I had to add “cheerleader” because my two granddaughters are cheerleaders for their Kindergarten through 2nd grade football team. They’re learning what it takes to cheer someone down the field to the goal. It’s never too early to teach a young person to encourage others.

As business owners and managers, we must come alongside those of whom we have administrative authority and explain that everyone is in it together. NO job is too menial, and no position is least important in the overall, company scheme. I truly believe that the janitor is just as important as the CEO, and a successful organization realizes every jobs’ importance and acts accordingly. This reminds me of the time when my daughter accompanied me on a speaking trip to Florida.

Erin had just turned five years old. When we stopped at a fast-foods place for lunch, there was an older man cleaning the floor between the tables. After watching him for a while, she asked if she could give a couple of her dollars to that man because he was working so hard at his job. When Erin gave him her money, she also told him that he was doing a good job. My heart melted because she had encouraged him at her level.

Sometimes our ways of measuring success must change to evaluate success. Success shouldn’t be defined on paper as the bottom line of a budget or quarterly profit margins. When a company is truly successful, the employees are committed to their leader and the company’s vision. Their customers are well treated, and the profit margin is attained.

Let me back-track as to why I circled the topic, Mop Bucket Attitude. While speaking to groups of employees at a business in Macon, Georgia, I became more aware of their thoughts for others. The group was quite impressed with a resume filled with education, accolades and qualifications of a person applying for a job at their company. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Instead of looking beyond what’s written, sometimes embellished with unachieved character traits, our society has become accustomed to seeking approval of others to achieve personal success. Case in point, social media.

On social media, we constantly post things to get people to “LIKE” our day’s activity or family fun-time. We want to be important, appear successful, be respected, and seem perfect. Don’t tell me about success, show me! Sometimes what’s posted is to get attention. So, what does it take to have true success?

An M.B.A. moment! Whether early on or late in life, truly successful people have had their Dave Thomas, M.B.A. moment. They’ve discovered that they’re not more important than others within the organization and they work that way day in and day out. Everyone can achieve an M.B.A. if they’re willing to do the right activity with people. When you’re dealing with people at work, adopt the Mop Bucket Attitude, a mindset of a servant who’s willing to do anything that will minister to and build up others, and you’ll see an elevation in your personal and business success. And you know what? You’ll feel better about yourself too.

See you next time.

Correspondence regarding this article should go to:

D.J. Says, 2820 Andover Way, Woodstock, GA 30189

D. J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He may be reached at 800-352-5252. E-mail: 52 weeks a year, we are as close as your telephone.