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Day of the Walking Dead

Optimize Blog - April 15, 2015 - 0 comments

As we parked our car and headed to a client office this morning we became aware of a number of others parking their cars and heading for the entrance leading to the office block. At 7am perhaps we can assume that most if not all were workers as customer hours seldom commence at such an ungodly hour. What struck us however was the complete lack of spring in anyone’s step and their slouched posture…….it was almost like anything else would be better for these folks than another day in the office.
So it wasn’t even a Monday, it was only Tuesday. What could be so dire that lay ahead of them as they shuffled, forlorn and disheartened toward that entrance leading them to their torture?
Now don’t get us wrong, we would all like to be in a perpetual state of vacation or have secured that dream job we wanted when we were five years old but the truth and harsh reality is that the majority of us need to work. In accumulating the means to have that vacation, buy new clothes or pay for college though, should it be the case that we have to drag ourselves in to a job and workplace daily where we can hardly summon the enthusiasm to tumble through the front door? If so, that is pretty frightening and not a little sobering.
Once in the client offices we had a little time to look out of the third floor window across the parking lot and to see if the few that we had walked in with were the exception but no, each and every individual seemed to be reluctantly heading toward their fate. We did not witness anyone skipping toward their workplace with that look of wonder in anticipation of what great things their professional work day would bring……..well at least we didn’t see anyone striding purposefully with the certainty that today they could make a difference.
Such an observation might have a number of causal issues although as it was a nice Spring morning, we cannot blame the weather. The type of business they were going to might be an issue but again, the office building houses a range of different businesses and none of them seemed overly depressing. The early hour and perhaps lack of sleep might be a factor but nonetheless, the zombie apocalypse just seemed a little too close for comfort.
When you look out across your own parking lot, what do you see as your workers come in to play? Are they happy? Do they look ready to come in and to be awesome? Do you get the sense that any customers that contact you today are going to be exposed to exceptional service? Do you think that the people you see walking in today will be walking in this time again next year?
I guess what we’re saying is that one of the key accountabilities of leadership is to ensure that the people that work with you are engaged, have challenging, meaningful work to do and operate in a nurturing environment. They need to feed off your passion, be treated equitably, be rewarded for doing great things and feel that they belong in an environment where they are trusted and where they can trust.
Such an environment takes hard work to create and even more hard work to sustain but this is the role that we signed up for as leaders. Clearly not everyone can be happy all of the time and we all have external issues and problems that can impact on our state of mind. However, the work environment should not be a factor in making someone unhappy – we should try our best to deliver an antidote and provide a workplace that drives creativity, innovation, quality and a sense of pride.
If your parking lot looks like the set for the next Walking Dead movie take a close look at your work environment and consider what you might be able to do to put a the joy back in coming to work…….

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