Lessons I learned from Dale Carnegie

As many of you know, I am a Dale Carnegie & Associates (DCA) avocational trainer.  I facilitate their “Leadership Training for Manager’s” course a few times a year and LOVE IT!  Yes, the definition of avocation may include “hobby” but I can assure you it’s much more than that for those who choose to participate this way.  I can honestly say I’d do this for much less in formal compensation and I always get back more than I put in; I always learn more about my business, how to serve customers, and myself every time I facilitate the course.

A little background: DCA has been in the professional and personal development space for 101 years.  Sure, there are older companies, but none other in the professional development area. They reign supreme.  No one has more grandparents, parents and children that have completed the course.  There are many reasons for their success, but I believe their day to day commitment to continuous learning and values is crucial.

Within this organization there is a culture, an enthusiasm about learning and executing on their values.  They call them the 31 “Human Relation Principles”.  Certainly we won’t go into all of them here, but suffice to say the first one is “Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain”.  WOW!  What if WE adhered to just this one single principle in our organizations?  What if WE were the champion for this one? What if WE took accountability for this SPECIFIC change in our organizations?  I invite you to imagine for just 10 seconds what the office dynamic would look like.

So, at the mid-point in my narrative I’ll tell you why I chose to write about this subject this month. The following sentences paraphrase feedback that I’ve received from class participants and if asked, I bet your direct reports would have something similar to say.


  • “Provide more of your own experience”
  • “….Add real life examples of lessons and content”
  • “More personal experiences as examples”
  • “….It took me out of my comfort zone”
  • “Incorporate more of the values into the class”


Our direct reports want something of us.  They want more of the companies’ VALUES. They want more of our PARTICIPATION, more INPUT and more MENTORING.  “I think they want more of us and less criticizing, condemning and complaining.” 

Maybe it’s easier today to email, text and do whatever without getting face to face, but that doesn’t mean we should do it.  I invite you to participate with your people, your customers and others.  I invite you to give of yourself, to take the 5 minutes to “engage” with someone every day. Follow the first of the Human Relations Principles and see what happens!