The Smeller’s the Feller

If you don’t understand the title of today’s memo, just ask a 12 year-old boy. (If you didn’t grow up in the South, your 12 year-olds may be more familiar with “He who smelt it, dealt it.”)

With a title like “The Smeller’s the Feller,” does it surprise you that today’s memo is about a tried-and-true management tool?

A couple of days ago, my partner Tim Miles made a brilliant suggestion about how we might begin the 3-day Business Growth class we’re having in March. (Sorry, completely full.)

I first heard about Tim’s idea when I got a funding inquiry from the Wizard of Ads group director. Tim had suggested something really awesome. Expensive, but awesome.

I sent Tim an email. “Fantastic idea, Tim! You’re in charge.”

TIP: Always assign responsibility for follow-through to the person who had the idea.  Give the fun of chasing the rabbit to the dog who sniffed it out of hiding. (In essence, the smeller’s the feller.) 🙂


1. No other person will have quite the same vision in their mind or enthusiasm in their heart.
2. No one has more to gain – or lose – than the person who had the idea.

BONUS BENEFIT:  Word will spread, and it will slow people down from coming up with so many things “YOU” ought to do.

When we were constructing the buildings at Wizard Academy and a group of people would arrive on campus, at least one of them would pull me aside and say with excitement, “Here’s what you ought to do…”

PROBLEM: I was already as busy as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, as stressed out as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs and as uptight as a frog on a freeway with his hopper stuck. So one day I impulsively shook the hand of the person who had made the suggestion and said, “Great idea! You’re in charge!”

They asked how much money they could spend and I said, “As much as you can raise.”

Amazingly, they raised the money, refined the idea and brought it to full execution.

When I saw how well their idea turned out, I said to myself, “Make a note: do that more often.”

When my partner Tim got my email, he replied tongue-in-cheek, “Man, as long as I’ve been around, I really should have seen that coming.”

I say “tongue-in-cheek” because Tim has made numerous suggestions over the years, and he’s always been willing to take full responsibility for implementation.

“Great idea! You’re in charge!”  is one of the guiding principles of the Wizard of Ads partners. It has also become a tradition at Wizard Academy.

I suggest that you test this technique within your own company.

It’s the perfect way to determine if you’re surrounded by the right kind of people.

Roy H. Williams