Responsibility to Analyze

Cavett Roberts, the founding president of the National Speakers Association once asked, “Whatever happened to the old wooden bucket?” It was the hallmark of an era. Songs were written about it. But the romance of the oaken bucket was short lived. It had no permanent franchise on existence.

The galvanized tin bucket replaced it. Although the tin bucket did not look so glamorous, it was lighter and cheaper. But even the tin bucket had no permanence; it was also replaced. The plastic bucket costs less and is lighter still. The bucket companies went out of business because they forgot something. They thought that they were selling buckets, when in reality they were selling containers for water. They lost sight of their purpose.

Wouldn’t you have thought that the railroads would have been owners of our airlines today? They, too, forgot something. They thought they were in the business of railroading, when in fact they were engaged in transportation.

Again, wouldn’t you have thought that the great motion picture companies would have become the owners of our broadcasting facilities? They didn’t. Again, why? The reason is that they considered themselves as being in the picture business, when in fact they were in the entertainment business.

We have a responsibility to analyze what business we are in—both personally and professionally.