costco.gifMost of us are visual: We often learn best by seeing. A leader’s personal behavior speaks volumes; most organizations, for better or worse, are the shadow of their leaders.

Jim Sinegal, CEO of Costco, talks about what he learned from one of his first bosses.

“FedMart’s founder, Sol Price, taught me a lesson that was pretty simple, but also true: SHOW them how you would do it. Sol spent day and night teaching us. He’d go home to have dinner, then come back to the warehouses. If he saw a piece of trash on the floor, he’d pick it up. If he noticed that a display was too high or an aisle wasn’t wide enough, he’d fix it. As employees, we were tested every day, and if something wasn’t done properly, he’d be certain to show us how to do it. Some people believe that you should say something just once. But I think you get a message across by communicating it every day. That’s why I’m always walking the floors of different Costcos and talking to employees about the tasks at hand. It’s not just because I love to hear the registers ring! Sol taught me that a good manager must also be a good teacher.” (Fortune magazine, June 9, 2009.)

If you want to advance in the world, than you must learn how to lead, how to teach, how to motivate. Heck, the same holds true if you want to be a good parent! Our actions teach the belief systems that motivate them. It behooves us to review at the end of each day what we taught that day.