A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

Waste Removal


 1. for what reason or purpose.
 2. (with reference to a reason) on account of which; for which.
 1. a reason or explanation.


I had dinner the other night with someone I consider one of the smartest men I know. During this dinner, he told me about some pretty significant events in his life lately, although not altogether pleasant or positive.

While I cared about his pain, frustration and sadness that certainly came with these events, I didn’t know how to comfort him.

The conversation, had it ended there, would have ended “raw” and I didn’t want that for him.  Therefore, I asked him what he has learned from these events.

He offered many lessons.  (This, by the way, is one of the reasons I consider him so damn smart…he learns from everything.)

One of the things he offered was this:

“You don’t shit in someone else’s circle.”  


What he meant by that is that you should, at all times, consider how your actions affect others BEFORE you engage in them.

Take this one step further and you should reconsider your actions if they are likely to result in a negative outcome down the road. My mentor of nearly 18 years calls this “taking your decision two steps out.” What, if anything, is probably going to happen if you do X?  Then, what is probable beyond that?

My mentor helped me realize that if I were to be a successful employee, I would always consider the affects of my actions.


Don’t shit in someone else’s circle.  


I think this is a critical lesson that should be taught more in our workplaces.


Think about it.

We teach our staff how to do process X and how to fix problem Y.

We teach them what this rule is and what that procedure entails.

We tell them to play nice in the sandbox.


But are we giving them the “why”?  And are we telling them how their activities…indeed, how their successes or errors, affect other people?


I don’t think we are doing a good job at this and it occurs to me this evening that this may be one of the reasons many of our teams are suffering from accountability, follow through, and quality issues.

whyPerhaps we need to supplement our instruction, our policies, our meetings, etc. with the “why.”  Better yet, perhaps we should help our staff logically and critically think through the “why” on their own.

Then, as my mentor did with me, consider the probable outcomes of their actions.


Yeah, I know, this takes time and I’m sure you just never have enough of it.

But consider the return on investment:

You’ll clean up less shit.



ChangeCommunicationsLeadershipMentoringPerformance ManagementRole of HRSHRMSkill Development

Heather Kinzie • August 25, 2013

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