• December 2011

Lisa McLeod's Rule of Thumb: People Should Come With Warning Labels

By Lisa Earle McLeod
Keynote Speaker and Author
McLeod & More, Inc.

Wouldn’t it be great if people announced their dysfunctions and hidden agendas at the start of a relationship so that you didn’t end up discovering them later?

Think about how much time you would save. You’d know right from the get-go whether or not you wanted to hire, date, or vote for someone.

The FDA requires food labeling to alert us to potential hidden dangers packed inside seemingly harmless treats. I think we should do the same thing for people—they should come with warning labels clearly identifying what’s really inside their “box.”

Here’s my warning label wish list:

1. Coworkers would have their ulterior motives printed directly on their employee ID badges.

The ulterior motives could go right under each employee’s name and photo.

Imagine being in a meeting with Mr. “I don’t care how many dead bodies I have to crawl over to get ahead.” If you saw that printed on his badge, you’d know that you need to protect your back.

About to do a joint project with Ms. “Talks a big game to impress the boss, but never keeps her commitments?” Make her put everything in writing before you start.

Working with Mr. “I never make my deadlines, but always blame others?” Copy the boss on the project plan, and make a note when you hit your marks.

And when Mr. “I’m passing time trying to avoid any real work” walks into the room, one glance at his badge is all the justification you need for completely ignoring him.

This could improve office efficiency better than Six Sigma ever did. Once the dysfunctionals at work have been outed, it’s time to tackle Congress.

2. Members of Congress should wear “sponsor” jumpsuits like race car drivers.

The size of each logo represents the amount of money each “sponsor” had donated to the campaign coffers.

Talk about transparency in government! A Congressman making an impassioned plea for less financial regulation won’t be as easily able to claim patriotism as his motive if he is wearing a jumpsuit with a big Citibank logo on his chest.

Imagine a Congresswoman recommending we leave heath care to the free market. Yet when her arm raises in a dramatic gesture as she points toward the heavens, you see a huge insurance company logo covering her sleeve.

Every single voter will know exactly who owns whom. With transparency in government accomplished, it’s time for the final frontier—personal relationships.

3. Potential romantic partners would have their dysfunctions tattooed on their backsides.

Nobody should have to go to work with “mama’s boy” stamped on his forehead. But if it were discreetly tattooed on his hindquarters, potential partners would know his true nature before they merged checking accounts.

Imagine how much drama you would avoid if someone began to disrobe and you saw “Clingy, crazy person who suffocates people” flashing in front of your face.

Would you envision a future with a woman whose has “My mother was a nag, and I’ll be one, too” written in cursive on her rump?

What if you saw “My first love is golf,” or “I’m a cheater.” The divorce attorneys would suffer, but you’d be saved.

Maya Angelou says, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

My method makes her advice a lot easier to follow.


About Lisa Earle McLeod

Business strategist Lisa Earle McLeod is an expert in sales force and leadership development. An author, consultant, syndicated columnist, media commentator, and keynote speaker, she is recognized as a thought-leader whose latest book, “The Triangle of Truth,” was named a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book for Leaders.

A bottom-line-oriented business advisor whose firm, McLeod & More, Inc. was featured in Fortune magazine, she is also a problem-solving expert whose conflict-resolution handbook was delivered to every member of the House and Senate. And she’s a leadership contributor for Forbes.com, she blogs regularly for The Huffington Post, and she has written more than 500 articles.

This high-energy keynote speaker who has rocked the house everywhere from Apple to Pfizer to The United Way is a repeat guest on “Good Morning America” and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows.

McLeod’s clients range from pharmaceutical to financial services, including Ann Taylor, Capital G, West Pharmaceutical, Black & McDonald, Kimberly-Clark, CMIT, and numerous franchises and entrepreneur organizations. She is also a personal-development expert whose first book, “Forget Perfect,” was featured in The New York Times, and continues to sell a full decade after the original printing. Her essay collection, “Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear,” was featured on Oprah.com.

McLeod and her husband Bob live in Atlanta. They are the parents of two fabulous teenage daughters.