Lessons for the 6 Climate Dimensions from 1899

The following article takes inspiration from Elbert Hubbard’s 1899 article, A Message to Garcia


What would you give to have an organization full of “Rowans?” An organization of people who know their job and do it extraordinarily?

What makes it possible to not just take, but deliver a message to Garcia?

A Message to Garcia” was the most widely published and distributed article in the history of mankind (during the life of the author). Now …

This may well be today’s answer to how we can succeed in managing the future of our organizations.

“The success of any quality process is measured by the organization’s ability to DELIVER the message to Garcia.”
– DoorTwo

I don’t think that Rowan was necessarily any different than most of us and, if it actually requires extraordinary people in order to produce results, then with are in BIG trouble for the future. More likely, what we need is the ability or the good fortune to get extraordinary results from ordinary people.

David McClelland’s work on Managing Motivation has given me an excellent model for understanding what may be some of the most critical leverage points to aid in delivering a message to Garcia:

  • CONFORMITY – Rowan was not made to deliver the message in any particular fashion. It was up to him. He was not constrained by policies or procedures or rules and regulations (the operant term here is “constrained”).
  • RESPONSIBILITY – It was his call, his job, to define. He would know immediately if and when he succeeded. He wouldn’t need to check with anyone to know how he had done.
  • STANDARDS – The President, the country, the war, and perhaps even more rested on his doing an excellent job.
  • REWARDS – Being allowed, being able to contribute, knowing that what he was doing was profoundly important. Being needed, being wanted, made the task worthwhile. Had he not received praise, he would have still understood his value (a rose by any other name).
  • CLARITY – Rowan understood the charter. There was never a doubt as to what the job was or why he was doing it.
  • SENSE OF TEAM – Is a natural outcome of the combined:
    • Freedom to do a task.
    • Ownership of the task.
    • Commitment to excellence in the task.
    • Knowledge of the importance of the task.
    • Understanding of the meaning of the task.

It was not the threat of discipline or loss of a job, nor was it some unique, extraordinary characteristic that allowed Rowan to succeed. It was the shaping of the task, the climate of the times, which allowed for or brought forth the greatness within.

Maybe there was a time when people truly were different. When, by nature, people were not inquisitive, not energetic, not in search of a path to make a difference, but I doubt it. I have yet to meet a person who says the goal if their life is to be mediocre. Nor a person who would eliminate the times in their lives when they were able to deliver a message to Garcia.

So, I leave you this question, “What was the climate of your world the times that you have delivered your messages to Garcia? Are you doing what you can to encourage the ordinary people of your world to produce extraordinary results?”

“Freedom is nothing more than a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus

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