Guest Post: A Children’s Book That Can Change Your Company Culture

When Likeable’s director of talent and culture, Brian Murray, started reading a children’s story at our team meeting I was a bit surprised but then it all started to make sense. I asked him to share his story!

Brian Murray Likeable Media

In my life prior to working at Likeable, I worked at a summer camp. I was responsible for the well-being of more than one hundred six-year-old boys. I like to think I was pretty good at my job, with a good understanding of how to reach the kids, but summer in particular I had a tough group. These boys were ferocious. They picked on each other and proved to me that the old adage “idle hands are the devil’s tools” is true. They weren’t particularly difficult when they were playing Ga-Ga but give them a moment without activity and that was it. I went to a friend who was a kindergarten teacher for advice and she recommended that I read a book called Have You Filled A Bucket Today by Carol McCloud. I read it and it changed my life.

The concept behind the story can be traced back to at least the 1960s. Everyone carries an invisible bucket. When the bucket is full, you are happy. When you are sad, the bucket is empty. Your bucket is filled by the kind acts of fillers and emptied by the unkind acts of dippers. When a person fills a bucket, their own bucket is filled too. Don’t be a dipper, be a filler. You will be much happier. The book itself tells it more eloquently and I suggest you buy it, no matter your age, profession, or number of children. You will find a time when it is applicable.

In my two years at Likeable, I’ve read the book to the entire team twice. Yes, I stood in front of the team and read them a thirty one page children’s book word for word, including the part about being nice to the bus driver. No one has ever given any negative feedback, and in any company that is rare. Both times we’ve seen great results and improvement in morale.

We’ve put a few methods of public recognition in place to help identify and recognize those who are doing great work. We created the Twitter account @TheBucketFiller which tweets out recognition that our staff sends to a specific email address. One amazing thing is that gentle reminders aren’t necessary. When someone submits a few fills, there is a flurry of activity as others race to do it as well. People love being a filler as much as they love being filled.

It has lifted the morale of the staff. New words have entered our vocabulary including buckets, filling, and dipping. They mean something different to us than they meant before. Having our own language builds camaraderie. It isn’t about always being nice it is about not being nasty. Nobody wants to work at a place with a nasty person.

Brian has amazing career advice. You can read more of it at his LinkedIn!

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