Tracey Jones, official speaker for Mr. Blue

The official Take Your Dog to Work Day has already come and gone on June 24th and, for most people, it’s an annual exception to the non-canine workplace rule. But just because your dog is not physically present, that doesn’t mean you can’t be influenced by him.

That’s the premise of a fun, inspirational book by Mr. Blue, an Australian shepherd/Basset hound mix who allowed author Tracey Jones to channel his wisdom in True Blue Leadership: Top 10 Tricks from the Chief Motivational Hound. I say “channel” because, although Mr. Blue is wise, he’s not a very good typist.

When she’s not busy taking dictation from her CMH, Jones keeps occupied as the President of Tremendous Life Books, the premier publisher of motivational books out of Pennsylvania. The company was founded by her father, inspirational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, under the name Executive Books.

In her interview this week with Dr. Lorie Houston for Animal Cafe, Jones explains that she is continuing to pursue her father’s goal of “changing the world one book at a time” — and, perhaps, one dog at a time.

That is, Tracey Jones takes the foundation of her father’s wisdom and builds on it. Charlie Jones was found of saying, “You’ll be the same person you are today in five years, except for two things: The people that you meet and the books that you read.” Tracey would add a third influence to that: “the dogs — and cats — that you adopt.”

Jones first became acquainted with Mr. Blue after four difficult years, when someone dropped off a bunch of puppies at the company where she worked in Austin, Texas. She had never had an indoor dog when she was growing up, nor had she become acquainted with them during her years in the military. And she had never seen a really young puppy. But there was something about the little critter with the blue merle coat that attracted her and, once she picked him up, she knew she needed to take care of him, fleas and worms and all.

That was 10 years ago, and Mr. Blue has repaid her care, in spades, with his companionship, sense of joy, enthusiasm — and of course his inspirational role as Chief Motivational Hound.

Some examples:

  • Mr. Blue walks with a bit of a swagger. “I don’t know if he’s cuter coming or going,” Jones says. The takeaway? Make sure you always leave a job with your head held high, or your tail. You want to be missed, no matter the circumstances of your departure, to have people know that yours are some big shoes to fill — or to chew.
  • Mr. Blue has a problem with a certain house cleaning item. In a chapter called “Dealing with Life’s Vacuum Cleaners,” he explains the importance of figuring out what things in our lives drain our positive energy, and then learning how to “silence our inner Hoover.”
  • There’s a difference between caring for and tending a flock — which is inspiring — and merely herding them. The lesson here is that, “People aren’t sheep, so don’t treat them that way. Don’t be a boss who ‘barks employees from meeting to meeting.'”
  • You’re never too old to learn new tricks, which might include adopting a senior dog and learning from each other. It’s never too late to take care of something and have a positive influence.

There’s plenty more folksy/dogsy wisdom where that comes from. Check out Lorie Huston’s podcast interview with Tracey Jones and her blog post, Leadership Skills and Workplace Motivation: Lessons from a Hound on Animal Cafe.


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