WT 414 Would you walk past it

Today’s thought might seem a bit bland at first read. Hang in there, there’s an important message from this story. 

Following the garbage collection this week, our neighbour’s bin was left in front of his yard. The lid was open. 

Generally, he takes it inside as soon as it’s emptied. 

I was curious and as we are prone to make up answers to our questions, I decided he had washed the bin and was leaving it to dry in the sun. 

The next day the bin was still outside with the lid open. 

The third day the bin had been put away, however there was a pile of rubbish left on the grass outside his home. 

“This is odd,” I thought to myself. 

The next day the rubbish was still lying on the grass. 

We’re now at day 5 and as Ross and I drive up to our place past the rubbish, Ross says to me, “Well I’m not picking it up.”  

I looked at him in astonishment. 

“Well, I will,” I said. 

“I’ll get some gloves and a bag and go and pick it up. If I’m going to complain about the rubbish I see on the side of the road and I want to do something about that, I can’t walk past rubbish at the front of my place either. (We live at the back of a group of townhouses.) 

With that, he shrugged and went inside. 

I followed, got some gloves and a bag and walked back down to the front to pick up the rubbish. It was wet and yukky. It had rained the past few days and the McDonald’s bag was wet and open. The McDonald’s drink container was split apart as was the McDonald’s salad bowl; with salad strewn across the grass. And the winner, a little blue bag tied neatly containing dog pooh. “Lovely!” 

I tied the bag and placed the rubbish in our bin for collection this week. 

I don’t know where the rubbish came from. I could guess someone placed it in the neighbour’s bin and he took it out and left it on the yard, but that wouldn’t make sense to leave rubbish in front of your own place. 

Regardless of what happened, here’s the point. In business and in life, our actions are determined by our values. You can’t say you value one thing and then not act in accordance with it. If you’re the CEO or leader, your actions absolutely MUST be in alignment with your company values. If you don’t act accordingly, how can you expect your team to. 

For me, picking up the rubbish was a no brainer. I value cleanliness. I don’t like rubbish being strewn around the place. I have pride in where I live and work and so to leave the rubbish for who knows who to pick it up, (or not) would have been totally out of alignment with my values. I would have been totally out of integrity. 

What would you have done? Would you have walked past it? And at work, what are you willing to walk past?