Are Your Employees Motivated? – Are You?

by Pete Ferguson

For a long time I’ve had as a goal to blog 5x a week, but only after attending Dan Miller’s Excellence in Coaching have I been committed. At first I thought it would be hard to come up with topics, but they continue to just drop in my lap now that it is a focus.

This little gem just sprung out at me while at a convenience store on our drive to Nampa, Idaho. The sign reads: “THIS CLOCK WILL NEVER BE STOLEN … The Employees are always watchin’ it.”

Based on the customer service I received, I couldn’t tell [insert sarcasm here please].

I had to laugh, because the sleepy little town we stopped in is likely a place most high school students dream of leaving as quickly as possible. And it is too bad, because it did have a bit of charm to it.

Contrast the attitude of the manager who hung this sign to that of a franchise owner of Chick-Fil-A where their employees – or rather Team Members – understand that they aren’t selling chicken, they are selling a unique customer experience. I didn’t receive a “my pleasure” response to any comments I made at this convenience store. Instead I saw more of a “please help me – get me outta this place” look behind the “employees” of the gas station.

What story do you tell at your place of business? Does it invoke your passion as a human being – or is that literally what you do each day, be a human and consume air, expel carbon dioxide, and add to global warming?

Truett Cathy
Founder, Chick-fil-A

“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources – and I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”

~ Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A Founder

During college, I would spend my summers working up to 80 hours a week refurbishing, sanding and installing wood floors. Almost 1,000,000 square feet a summer. It was backbreaking work, it was hot, we often had to carry 55lb buckets of varnish up several flights of stairs along with all the equipment. There was little time to take a break, but I always saw it as a life lesson in why I needed to return to college and work really hard.

Back on campus during the school year, I worked at the BYU Museum of Art custodial department. I didn’t see my job as scrubbing toilets. I saw it as beautifying the museum, one toilet at a time. Because of my work during the summers, I quickly graduated from toilets and instead turned my focus to maintaining the beautiful Brazilian cherry and other wood floors in the galleries. My supervisor had a great attitude. She invested in each of her team members as real people, got to know us, made sure we had a lot of variety to mix things up and always asked if we had done our best.

When Linda was promoted elsewhere, the “magic” of scrubbing toilets quickly disappeared under our new unmotivated manager. One morning as I was working, I saw the time and attention a Security Supervisor was taking with a new officer. I quickly made up my mind that was where I wanted to be.

Making the switch, I quickly met one of my life long mentors, the head of campus security, Police Lt. Arnie Lemmon. Arnie invests in people. Many of the top officers were once students called into Arnie’s office about to be expelled for misbehavior. Arnie would tell them he expected more, that they were capable of more. In turn, they did not want to disappoint and turned their misguided energy into being a great student and security officer.

Arnie didn’t see security as a sit around and “be a human” job, he despised the term “guard” and spent 40 hours instructing us that our goal was to provide Legendary Customer Service. We were ambassadors of the University and the Museum to the public. If we didn’t respect a piece of artwork, we were to learn about it. We didn’t have to like it, we just had to respect it and understand it.

Are you an employer or employee? Either way, you have the potential to be a great Leader and inspire those around you.

Do your employees know what their larger mission is? Are they flipping burgers or creating a memorable moment for a family on vacation? The work actions are the same, the attitudes are worlds apart.

In closing, the video below shows just how high a level Chick-fil-A takes in looking at the people who walk through their doors. The video was created to train Team Members on creating a customer experience.

Learn: What is your passion? How can you apply it to your work? To your Life?

Act: What one thing can you start doing differently – and every day – starting today? Get started!

Share: If other’s don’t know your passion, you can’t blame them for not helping you achieve it. Go big, break the mold. Be the Purple Cow.


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