Friday, March 09, 2007

just another job?

Below is an article that was written in February of 2006 from The Coaches Corner Magazine. It demonstrates that you have the ability to make it more than just that - for yourself and for others.

Dear Colleague,

I wasn’t real sure what I was going to write about this week until a phone call with a client a short while ago that left me smiling, happy, inspired and impressed. Here’s what happened:

For those of you who have been around this magazine for a while, you have heard me speak and/or write about the number of people who hate their jobs. I just did a yahoo search on "People who hate their jobs" and I got 755 hits. Apparently, lots of people fall in this category.

About a year ago, there was an article in USA Today reporting on two studies that produced startling statistics.
  • Only 11% of workers surveyed reported that they were strongly engaged at work. Wow. That’s only 1 in 10.

  • Even worse, only 49% of senior managers said they were strongly engaged at work and 9% said they were actively disengaged. Pretty scary.
So why so many people are not fully engaged, not inspired, not thrilled about their jobs?

Why is Monday blue, Wednesday the hump of the week and then thank God it’s Friday?

Lots of reasons. And rather than just listing them, I think I’ll explore a number of them in detail in this and the next few issues.

To start to get to the bottom of the problem, you must understand the nature of human beings. As human beings, we thrive on being related. Even further, we thrive on being intimately related. If this were not the case, why would we be so driven to have significant others, marriages, rich friendships, and strong families and why would we suffer as much as we do when those things are not present?

You’ve all heard the stories about babies who do not survive if they are not held and nurtured after birth. And what happens to people when they are held in isolation, like when prisoners are captured and kept in those conditions.

Now, map that reality onto the typical workplace. Is building strong, nurturing relationships typically stressed as essential? Are people encouraged to take such action? Do companies make consistent efforts to create a sense of team? Hardly.

More and more, people go to work. They are expected to do their jobs, there is often very little interaction, and, to make matters worse, most communications these days take place via e-mail. Face-to-face contact is almost a thing of the past. Who has the time? Is it any wonder why people aren’t thrilled about being at work?

Look around. How much of your day is spent building and maintaining strong, rich, meaningful relationships with the people around you? If you’re a manager, how much emphasis do you place on that? You really ought to give that some thought. It could just be the thing missing in your organization.

Now to my phone call earlier today. I don’t usually do this and I’m going to make an exception. My phone call was with Dan LeVeque, President of Gundlach Champion, and a construction company headquartered in Houghton, Michigan. Gundlach Champion is one division of the Champion family of companies centered in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I had the privilege of working with Dan and his fellow officers last year and it was truly a joy to see them totally embrace the principles of Making Work Work you read about here.

What Dan is doing is having monthly meetings of essentially all of the people in his company to talk about anything other than work. That’sright; work is not a suitable subject for conversation. In the last meeting, the subject was attitude. Dan had shared with everyone theprinciples of success I wrote about last year and started the conversation by re-emphasizing the importance of gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation, and then opened the floor for discussion.

Someone wanted to know why a particular person always had such a great attitude. She shared a story about her relationship with her father which inspired her to always have a positive attitude. This opened the door for someone else to talk about the recent loses of his father and on and on.

Dan’s comment to me was that the conversation was often gut wrenching and tears were even shed. Can you imagine that? A group of people at a company meeting on a regular basis just to be with each other, to share stories, to be intimate, to be at risk, to be vulnerable, to care about each other? Can you imagine a meeting where it’s not about productivity, the latest company initiative, how to beat out the competition, how to get everyone working harder, and why they aren’t?

I wish I could take credit for this but I don’t. I didn’t tell or suggest that Dan do this. He came up with this on his own. But it came out of his commitment to create a sense of team, to build strong, rich, meaningful relationships among the people in his company, to not be one of those leaders that employees gossip about, and to create a company where people look forward to Monday and personal satisfaction is the norm.

So, if you have a job environment that functions this way already...appreciate what you have as this is NOT the norm! And, if you don't, what are you implementing today to have this for tomorrow?

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