August 2022 Book Review

The AMCI Reading Corner is a crowdsourced resource share aimed to serve as a platform for the AMCI community to share book recommendations and reflect with personal takeaways. Starting with monthly postings, more ways to engage will be shared as the idea grows.

This month, Richie O’Neill of Association Management Strategies, Inc. shares his review of How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton

An early morning team meeting after a long weekend. An unexpected request from a board member. The opportunity to highlight a team member’s accomplishment. A call from a coworker seeking personal advice.

Every Moment Matters.

Not only the title of the book’s third and most inspiring chapter, the uncomplicated revelation that every moment matters, is the grand takeaway from “How Full is Your Bucket.”

The book is “organized around a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket.” We each have a ‘bucket’ that is constantly being filled or emptied based on our daily personal interactions. When it is full, we are ‘crushing it’; when it is empty, we are feeling awful, uninspired, unproductive.

We also have a ‘dipper’, and we use it during each of our daily interactions. We fill someone’s bucket (and our own) by doing things that person finds gratifying, or we take from their bucket (and our own) when we do or say things that bring negativity.

If you only take one thing: “Every time you fill a bucket, you're setting something in motion.” This profound discovery is my favorite quote from the authors. It provides a sense of ownership, a chance to make a difference, with some attached urgency, yet not overwhelming. The authors treat readers to some arithmetic: if each of us were to commit to starting the day with filling two people’s buckets (having just one positive interaction does it), knowing that those people will then do the same, over 1000 people would have their buckets filled within 10 days. The number grows to 19 million in 10 days if we fill five people’s buckets a day.

The 5:1 “Magic Ratio”: Simply put, in order for a team to function well, have cohesion, be productive, and inspired, team members should strive to have five positive interactions together for every one that is negative. So, we constantly reflect on our daily interactions. What energy did we bring to a team meeting or how did our actions leading up to and during a call help or support others?

Make a table in a spreadsheet and keep track of your ratio. I did, and unfortunately, my daily ratio was not always up to the 5:1 magic number. But then I remember, every moment matters.

Why I keep it in my bookcase: Just seeing the title of the book when I walk into my office reminds me to slow down, pause, and be intentional to make a positive impact on those I interact with today. Be a bucket filler.

Making a commitment to our families, coworkers, and most importantly ourselves, to consistently fill buckets during each interaction is hard work. Be grateful for the next opportunity and know that…. every moment matters.


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