Pooh is one of the most beloved children’s characters of all time. He loves honey, is kind to everyone, and has a friend who is a striped tiger named Tigger. What else could a person want? The question then becomes what can this relatively passive creature and his friends have to say about business that makes it relevant let along worth reading. As with most sayings it comes down to a matter of interpretation. It is possible to be kind in a competitive business environment and still come out on top. Also, it is often the simplest sayings that have important meanings behind them which can be applied to many areas of life.
For those who are already a fan of Pooh and friends, you are likely to recognize many of these 20 sayings. Applying them to the world of business may have not come to your mind, so here is an opportunity to put what you might have thought to be useless knowledge to work for you to better your business career. Those who are new to Pooh, you might want to talk to co-workers who are familiar with the adventures of Pooh.
Without further ado, here is the list of 20 Winnie the Pooh quotes that actually apply to business – in one way or another.
1. ”To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.”
“A” is for attitude. Successful businesspeople, whether they are educated through experience, on the job training, or in a formal college environment, know the importance of having the right attitude to succeed. A competitive business environment poses many challenges, and only with the right attitude can an employee or a business expect to meet those challenges and continue growing.
2. ”Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.”
One general rule of life is: it can always be better, it can always be worse. When applied to a business situation what happens many times is that the worst times are simply an industry being caught in an economic cycle. Of course, not knowing when the bottom will come stokes the pessimism but getting through these times is a key to a learning experience.
3. ”Promise me you’ll always remember: You are braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Believing in yourself and the overall mission of the business is critical to accomplishing your long term goals. Growth involves risk, meeting challenges requires strength, and adapting to new technologies demands a combination of resourcefulness and knowledge. For a company to undergo severe testing is a way to let the best and brightest shine.
4. “If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
Effective communication in business starts with effective listeners. The best listeners usually will have the personal characteristic of patience. The fluff that Pooh talks about can be anything from a temporary distraction to a major personal problem that will affect the listener’s performance long after they leave the room. Once you identify it you can deal with it and move on to the business of business.
5. “It all comes of not having front doors big enough.”
Unexpected or uncontrolled growth often ends up trying to fit through that front door and causes chaos. It is a common problem among smaller businesses who underestimated the demand for their product or service. It also can cause a potentially successful company to close those front doors. Managed growth will always fit through those front doors.
6. ”One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.”
This is a tribute to the messy desk (or desktop). To the organized person, a messy desk looks like a disaster waiting to happen. But the reality is that the content of most messy desks is well-known and easily found by the owner. It actually is a security mechanism because anyone else trying to find something will likely get frustrated – resulting in one of the surprising discoveries. Unfortunately what they will find is not what they were looking for.
7. ”Think, think, think.”
There is an old business adage: there’s never time to do it right but there’s always time to fix it. The source of this is said to be a disgruntled employee, who often spends long hours dealing with dissatisfied customers and processing returns. The problem lies in the process, where too many people are doing and too few thinking. Thinking can make everyone’s life easier and the bottom line larger.
8. ”Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
Various levels of management in companies spend significant amounts of time making sure things get done when all that is really required is for them to slow down and do nothing. The idea of getting paid for doing nothing is anathema to most corporate environments, but there is a lot of value in just sitting back and watching how things are running.
9. ”We will be friends until forever, just you wait and see.”
This is dedicated to the new employee who comes in and either tries to do too much too soon, or manages to get everyone to dislike them within the first week. Accomplishing this is less of an art and more of an accident (usually) so it is best to give the new people the benefit of the doubt. A positive attitude can change a lot. Of course, if that fails then their tenure with the company might be short lived. But there will be someone new to come along to test this theory again.
10. “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” (Via Goodreads)
This may be more appropriate for going to a Las Vegas casino, but in a business you can lose your way trying to deal with all the demands and challenges of a new position. This is especially true of people who are new to management and get overwhelmed by navigating both the people and tasks they are required to manage. Being lost is no fun, but at least knowing you are lost is a starting point.
11. ”It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” (Via Every Day Power)
Indeed, what about lunch? Many business deals get closed during the traditional business lunch, where oftentimes the conversation avoids those long, difficult words and leaves those for the lawyers. Lunches that are “all business” tend to be tedious and somewhat stressful. You can get that back at the office.
12. “Think it over, think it under.” (Via Bookriot)
Pooh manages to reveal the multidimensional aspects to many facets of business. Don’t misunderstand the little fella by hearing him say we should overthink or underthink. Those are both very dangerous approaches to a solution. Just as dangerous is failing to look at the problem from a variety of perspectives and believe the answer can be seen from just one perspective. As it is said, the devil is in the details.
13. ”Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
Here is a common problem that has more to do with appearance than reality. While every company owner wants their operations to be a model of human efficiency, the reality is that the weeds in the works actually help the operation to function more smoothly. How? Most efficiency is achieved through automation, but the humans who are part of the process bring a personal touch that make the work environment a habitable one for entities other than machines.
14. “We need you, we always need you.”
If you cannot see the problem with this quote you are either an optimist or a company owner. Most employees recognize that while management might say this, the unfortunate reality is that anyone can be deemed to be unnecessary for any reason, at any time. Yet this has to be the consistent attitude of management because for a small number of people this actually may be true. Losing top talent or rare talent to the competition is never good.
15. “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
This is a warning to large companies who have become so successful that they have cut out their own, rather substantial market share and have established a reputation as a major player in their industry. What they fail to recognize is the individual customer needs to be recognized, and going to them is a way to ensure their continued loyalty. Remember that competitors and new businesses are going to them as you read this.
16. “When you are a bear of very little brain, and you think of things, you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thinkish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
Pooh is using the word “thinkish” as a measure of size. What you think is a small or insignificant idea may be found to have great value when it gets the attention of a number of people. True, this entails risk, and it is possible the idea will be rejected. But keeping it inside does not seem to have any measurable advantage. As for the bad ideas that are confirmed as bad when brought out into the open, at least you will know and can move on with no regrets.
17. “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
It’s not advisable to sass the boss with this one – unless they already know that is the reality. But there are people who are exactly like this and frustrate those who are actually trying to be productive. What makes it worse is they are getting paid for doing nothing. It would be very un-Pooh like to rat them out to the boss, so you will have to find creative ways to discourage their behavior.
18. “I did know once, only I’ve sort of forgotten.”
The longer you work at a company, the more often this will be true. People who are most often asked a question that prompts this type of response are those vaunted as the “know-it-alls” – a label most people will certainly want to avoid. You may not be able to avoid achieving seniority but along the way you should master the art of saying, “They know.” And point your finger in the appropriate direction. Otherwise you will find yourself repeating this quote over and over again.
19. “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” (Via Goal Cast)
Everyone will have a bad day, including your boss. It is better to apply this concept with sincerity rather than as a way to manipulate it to your long term advantage. Yes, not all people are Pooh-like, so if you are on the receiving end of a little consideration and thoughtfulness, be thankful – and be a little wary. As they say, you can make a big difference with a small act of kindness.
This is a corollary to #19 because it will require you to be bothered and take some time to demonstrate some compassion. No job description will have “forced compassion” as part of the requisite skill set. Compassion, yes. But not the forced kind. It seems if being bothered to do the right thing doesn’t come natural to a person then they shouldn’t bother at all. But to avoid ending on a downer, remember that people sometimes just need a nudge to forget about what’s bothering them and take the time to be bothered to help somebody else.