July 27, 2012

lessons learned from sheriff andy taylor

Welcome back to awesome guest writer Zach Buckley with a good ol' inspirational post to get us motivated towards a successful life. Enjoy!

The recent passing of Andy Griffith at the age of 86 is the loss of a television legend; one of the early pioneers of sitcom TV who was the face and namesake of one of the most popular television shows of all-time. The Andy Griffith Show ran from 1960 to 1968 and was beloved for being downhome and wholesome—words also used to describe Griffith himself.

In that career-altering role, Griffith was Sheriff Andy Taylor, the widowed sheriff of a fictional North Carolina town. Surrounded by dopey deputy Barney Fife—played by close friend Don Knotts—as well as the motherly Aunt Bee and Taylor's young son, Opie, Taylor often dispenses life advice and serves as a mediator handling many of the townspeople's trivial problems. He also struggles to juggle his job's responsibilities with his duties as a single parent while also keeping Barney and Aunt Bee in check.

In doing so, the show also provided its viewers with regular morals and life lessons, often delivered from Sheriff Taylor himself. In light of Griffith's recent passing, here's just a few of the lessons we learned from his most famous role.

1. When making decisions, trust yourself -- not the letter of the law
One of the predominant themes of The Andy Griffith Show was that, while laws and rules are meant to be followed, nothing can substitute for one's personal sense of judgment. Sheriff Taylor often taught his son that when problems arise, it's sometimes best to follow what your heart is telling you to do.
The lesson is one that can be applied to all walks of life, including business. Even though project management, personnel issues and other demands of business are often governed by specific rules and policies, many business leaders are put in their positions because of their strong sense of judgment and their well-developed problem-solving skills. Like anything else, it takes time to acquire these skills, but there is a lot of value in having the confidence to make decisions that feel right, even if they aren't the most popular approach.

2. Compliment the skills of your business and co-workers
Throughout the television series, Taylor was known for his ability to calm the impulses of the townspeople while calling for more perspective and deliberation. His personality contrasted that of the townspeople, and the town as a whole appreciated this role because he helped bring the town into balance. The suggestion made from the show is that leaders of companies should be a compliment to the styles and tendencies of the organization as a whole. The end result is more balanced decisions that have looked at a given issue from a variety of perspectives.

3. Embrace loyalty
In today's fast-paced, cutthroat business world, it's tempting—and easy—to cast aside virtues. Sheriff Taylor constantly reminded us of the importance of remaining loyal, both in business and in life. He constantly stood beside his friends, family and son even in the midst of bad decisions. Instead, Taylor focused on the positives and used his status as a local leader to lift up those around him—even if it ultimately hurt his own reputation. It's a tough lesson to learn and embrace, but loyalty's rarity makes it a precious commodity.

More than half a century after it first aired, The Andy Griffith Show can still be seen on TV in reruns. It has endured not only for its quality programming, but also for the timelessness of its humor and morals. As the world keeps spinning without Andy Griffith, the values of his life's work continue to live on through his show and its fans.

About the author: Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest. He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.  When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley

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