By Bob Maksimchuk
In the last installment, we left Josey and his rebel friend at a river crossing. There they met the boatman Sim Carstairs, Granny Hawkins, who runs a supply store, and a carpetbagger. We discussed the loquacious Sim and now let’s see what we can learn from the unforgettable Granny Hawkins.
Josey orders the supplies they need from Sim and as Sim begins to load the horses, Granny Hawkins steps onto the front porch of the store. This grizzled, toothless, old woman smoking a long pipe turns a cold gaze upon Josey, and calls him by name, to his surprise. She then relates what the Union soldiers, who had been there a few hours earlier, told her:
“They say ye killed your own men…They say ye killed a slew of defenseless soldiers too. They say ye are hard put and a desperate man, Josey Wales. They say they are going to heel and hide ye to a barn door. You...
The scene: Josey and his injured young rebel friend furtively approach a river crossing. There they meet three very interesting people – the boatman, Sim Carstairs, who ferries people across the river, Granny Hawkins, who provides supplies and “poultices” to travelers, and a fastidious carpetbagger, wearing a white suit, selling bottles of a cure-all elixir. It is these new characters, not Josey, that teach us a few interesting leadership and communication lessons.
Depending on your point of view, Sim is either a brilliant businessman or a snake in the grass. He tells a carpetbagger who is waiting to cross the river, “In my line of work you got to be able to whistle either the Battle Hymn of the Republic or Dixie with equal enthusiasm, depending upon present company.” Which would you think he is?
Lesson 6: Communication is Received Best When You Talk to People in THEIR Language.
By Bob Maksimchuk
Sometimes you can learn important lessons from unconventional sources. If you are unaware, the classic 1976 movie western The Outlaw Josey Wales, set near the end of the U.S. Civil War, was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood, who played the main character Josey Wales. The writers may not have intended it; however this movie is replete with leadership and communication lessons that are applicable to executives, project managers, team members, or any of us especially in difficult times on our projects. You currently may not be in a leadership position but some day may need to lead. All of us do need to effectively communicate with those that we work with. You often hear the lament that technical people need to develop “soft skills”. So let’s see what we can learn from Josey Wales and hopefully have some fun along the way.
[Spoiler alert: This series...