When I was a young boy growing up in rural Georgia, the Goat Man was a real legend. He traveled all over the country with a large herd of goats pulling a dilapidated old wagon. I saw him twice over a dozen years. You could smell him coming long before you saw him. His dirty overalls, and scruffy beard. and collection of junk made him look rather wild. The announcement of “The Goat Man is coming” got school kids a break from their studies to watch him slowly pass the schoolhouse. Traveling only about eight miles a day, he often created long lines of traffic. As such, he was the dread of law enforcement if he came through your town.

His name was Ches McCartney. He supposedly visited 49 states and traveled over 100,000 miles over a span of 50 years. He was the source of many myths. One rumor was that one of his three wives was a Spanish knife thrower ten years his senior. My favorite was that he sold one of his wives for $850. The Goat Man held no job, paid no dues, and made no contributions except serving as a rare traveling sideshow. Today, he is remembered only by the audience for his time and itinerary. I call it the Goat Man Syndrome.

Great organizations that matter are known for their marketplace substance and authentic contributions. They serve and strive to serve well. They are good citizens who care more about their community than their own wagon. They operate with clean dealings and fair exchanges. They work hard to never become a nuisance or a bad example. Avoid the Goat Man Syndrome and become broadly renowned for your valued contributions.