Little Johnny in the Workplace

Reach for the Stars

Little Johnny in the Workplace

Almost every kid gets a trophy these days
And it doesn’t even matter if they know how to play
Win or lose, it’s still just the same
For “God forbid that our children feel pain!

Our children grow up in liberal schools
Taught to believe each one of them “cool
Unique” and “different” are the words that are spoken
Later to find they’re considered mere tokens

Years later at work, Mom and Dad run to their side
And reinforce the lies told them bye and bye
Yes, you’re unique and you’re not a token…
You just work for someone who’s misinformed and misspoken!

Execute?” “No way! You’re unique, you see!
“They just don’t see the great things that make you like me
I will call them, Dear Johnny, and set the record straight
Because I know, Little Johnny, that you were born great!”

Madam,” says boss, “I appreciate your call
And I am so sorry you’re seeing Little Johnny fall
But, in this business, our task is to make money
Because our investors like their toast with jam and some honey


“I know your son Johnny has many citations
But do you know what makes us great in this nation?
We work hard here and we accept no excuses
When it comes to losing, we have very short fuses”

We work together and perform like a team
We do like winning, so we keep things lean
Yes, Johnny needs to understand some critical things
But the most important one is the elusive Brass Ring

Without the Brass Ring, we cannot exist
We must strive for it, run after it; mediocrity can’t exist
Did you ever teach Johnny about doing his best?
Or did you just teach your son how to take the test?

Because dear Madam, in this world in which we compete
There are several competitors who would make us mincemeat
Yes, run us out of business if they possibly could
And if I let Johnny stay here, they probably would


So am I sorry dear Madam, but I must end this call
And you will have to watch little Johnny take a big fall
Be there to catch him and tell him you were wrong
The business world in which we live sings a different song

The color of green is the most important thing to see
Without this great color, we would no longer be
So you see Little Johnny, your Mommy was wrong
She should have taught you the “Reality Song

They never taught you the world was a cruel place
And if you don’t execute, you will fall on your face
You must understand Johnny, what companies need
Leaders of people, not boys on Mom’s knees

So it is time to grow up Johnny
And become a real man
It is time little Johnny
To execute the plan

It’s okay to fail, if you learn a new lesson
You’ll move forward and away from regression
Be sure not to blame, and call Mommy wrong
Just turn the page and learn a new song


Just keep in mind, the real world keeps score
And keep persevering and going for more
Don’t let the weak determine your path
For you will suffer and end up with half

Work hard, be true to self, and expect to win
Never give up or hang low your chin
You will make it, if you try
Just know the right path and the reasons why

I leave you with this to help you along
The very best verse in the “Reality Song:
“Be thankful and merry and serve duty well
 Then you will know peace and stay far from hell

So at last, Little Johnny grew up; he learned his new song
And with his new team he now got along
Learning new melodies, rhythm, tempo and verse
He now has his “failures as friends” to rehearse

So if you are in sound of my voice
Simply know that “Perseverance is a choice
Be like Johnny and see a larger view
Success through failure is the way to renew!

David Williams is Vice President at Pratt Corporation
He serves clients by implementing effective HR & Operations Strategies
Email | LinkedIn |  Twitter | Web | Blog

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  1. Scott Crandall on August 1, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Excellent! Loved the thought, if not the verse. I think it pays all of us to remember (as parents or leaders): “Life ain’t T-ball.”

  2. eduledge on August 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    A great thought put in poetry format. We learn each day of our life by experiences and people we meet.

    And as you said from a workplace perspective:

    “So at last, Little Johnny grew up; he learned his new song
    And with his new team he now got along
    Learning new melodies, rhythm, tempo and verse
    He now has his “failures as friends” to rehearse”

    These lines define a leader in the truest sense!

  3. Eleather B. on August 4, 2011 at 8:03 am

    What a wonderful expression of what to expect from ourselves as leaders!

    I most appreciated the reminder at the end of “Perseverance is a choice“ because the world of business that we live in is demanding and sometimes we simply won’t meet those demands for various reasons. Yeah, I feel that we will experience disappointment, hurt, insecurity, and uncertainty throughout life – especially, as professionals – but these should afford us the opportunity to learn the notes of the “Reality Song“ and not paralyze us.

    I know good leaders have to make tough choices every day and the toughest of these can be to choose to perseverance!