Letter to Garcia
Updated: Mar 12, 2021
A message to Garcia: As a child, I was always curious about how things were put together. I had a desire to see inside and see how things function. Once I learned how to use a screw driver, I began to take apart just about anything that had a screw. My parents can vouch for this fact. I took off all the door knobs in the house and even accidentally locked my grandmother in her room. At least, thats what they told her and I went with it. By the way, screw drivers and electrical outlets are not meant to go together. I not only had a shocking experience, but I blew up my mothers stationary hair dryer while she sitting under it. Nonetheless, the joy of figuring things out on my own is still a large driver for me today. The challenge of trying something new that has never been accomplished intrigues me.
As a result, when I ask an associate to do something for me and they ask, "How?","Why?","Where?", or "When?" it causes me to pause. If you ask any of them, they will tell you that I will ask them to read A Message to Garcia. This essay was originally published in the March 1899 issue of the magazine The Philistine by Elbert Hubbard. The following is an excerpt:
Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail. The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?”
Now I am not saying that giving guidance is not necessary, as it is part of our jobs as leaders; however, if the request for such guidance is trivial in nature then ask them to read A Message to Garcia. Our business is moving at a lightning pace and we need to lead our teams and put them in situations that allow them to stretch and grow. I believe in people and their ability to find solutions, solutions that may, in fact, be far greater than my own. I believe their is a Rowan in all of us waiting to be discovered.
It may take a few times having them read it before it becomes part of them. Case in point, I asked an associate one day to read the Message and he asked, "Where can I find it?" I chuckled and told him, "Google it!" He asked, "What is so funny?" I responded, "You will see." We both laugh about it to this day.