When I was a kid I used to hate being told that I couldn’t do something by my teachers. One of the things I always hated being told was I couldn’t play the drums. Then later on I got older and I couldn’t play the drums for Mr. Morrow’s class because he told me, “You’re going to play the cowbell instead.” I said, “That’s not going to happen. I love drumming and I’m going to learn drumming.”
I finally mustered up enough courage to ask my parents, “Hey guys, get me a teacher to teach me drums because I love it so much.” They got me a teacher and I learned how to drum and I became part of an awesome music community that I loved and had people who respected me. I could create cool new music with them and I appreciated working with them, and we had a common ethics around what we did.
I was always relegated to the cowbell by Mr. Morrow. He told me to go play the cowbell, but I went home and I asked to become part of a larger community. What I’m asking you, everybody, to do is don’t relegate your employees to the cowbell. Give them the opportunity, create a culture of respect, of ethics and integrity, of appreciation, a positive future, a wonderful collaborative culture that makes it impossible for anyone not to love the workplace, and I guarantee you you’ll reap the benefits.