Part of the "Attracting and Retaining Top Talent" Series
Did you wake up this morning intending to change the world? That is the question that Mark Sanborn asks in his book, The Fred Factor. Even though the book was written more than 12 years ago, I find myself pulling it off the shelf from time to time and reading it again. It is a wonderful story that Mr. Sanborn shares about his community postman – Fred. Every day Fred changes the world, one person at a time, with each person on his delivery route.
Mr. Sanborn explains that there are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs. As human beings, there is one thing that seems common in all of us, and that is a passion for significance. I have never met someone who wished to be insignificant. Everyone wants to count, to know that what he or she does each day matters. Each of us has the power to make this happen in our own positions. We can convert our job into the one we love not by doing a different job, but by doing the job we have differently.
That is what made Fred unique. There are thousands of men and women who deliver mail. For some it is just a job. For many, it is an occupation they enjoy. For a few like Fred, however, delivering the mail becomes a calling.
How about within your own company? How many Freds work there? What is being done each day to nurture and support more Freds? Are employees inspired to be their best?
The following are two suggestions to help you get started in making sure your employees feel significant:
- Be Present. Being engaged, being present, being there in the moment with the person or persons with whom you are interacting is perhaps the most difficult thing to do. People do not care how many hours you’ve worked already, how late you were up the night before, or how bad of a situation you just had to handle before meeting them. They are interacting with you for the first time. Be there for them, each and every one of them.
There’s a saying that goes, “To the world you be only one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” Being present is making eye contact, asking questions, showing you care more about the other person’s success than your own, and being a connector who continuously makes successful connections for others. Most importantly, it is the power of gratitude and the simple act of writing a thank you note.
It doesn’t take much to be present, but it does take your presence.
- Devote the Time. When it comes to scheduling department meetings or appointments with customers, we block out the time, get the meetings on our calendar, and make sure that other activities are scheduled around the event. However, when it comes to spending time with team members, recognizing them for work well done, or sending a handwritten note to say “thank you” or “congratulations,” many times we fit the activity in when we are free of all other appointments and tasks. The problem with this approach is that we are never free. The only way to accomplish any task is to carve out the time, dedicate ourselves to the task, and devote ourselves to doing it every day. If this means getting it on your calendar then carve out the time on your calendar. If you are like me, it means creating a STOP DOING list. Write down those things you catch yourself doing and you know you shouldn’t, because it’s a waste of time or is someone else’s responsibility. Then keep the list within eyesight at your desk. I have a quote on my whiteboard that I read several times a day that says, “Just imagine, there are legions of people trying to be successful doing the very work that successful people throw out.”
Devoting time to those around you and being present in the moment with them will help them feel significant. With significance can come passion for the work. With passion for the work, you have Fred. Yes, there are many self-made Freds; however, there are many more Freds who can be nurtured.
Did you wake up this morning intending to change the world?
Gary Greene is President of Greene Resources, Inc., a recruiting solutions firm, with offices in Raleigh and Wilmington that helps companies locate and land great talent. Greene Resources’ flexible business model is tailored precisely to meet your short- and long-term objectives. Its InStep methodology ensures that you consistently locate high-quality people who are productive over an extended period of time. With positions ranging from entry to management level, Greene Resources offers contract, contract-to-hire, and direct hire services as well as larger managed services programs. Greene Resources’ phone number is 910-251-0505 and website is www.greeneresources.com. Gary can be reached via email at [email protected].