There is no such thing as a boring job

I don’t think Ziggy the Dustman, as this guy was nicknamed (he used to dance past my daughter-in-law’s bookshop in Chiswick High Road, West London), is doing this for anyone other than himself. We think his real name is Billy, but aren’t sure. He’s Polish.

If you study the Fish! phenomenon (Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle) and other places in which people with apparently dull but high profile (in terms of visibility) jobs suddenly turn the whole company from looking mundane to looking, from the customer’s point of view, like an exciting, life-enhancing place to do business with, then you can see from Ziggy/Billy that even the most mundane job can be turned into something that inspires and delights.

We learn from extremes. I’m not saying everyone on your front line has to dance. But, can you see the light in their eyes? If not, look at what Ben Zander says (search for him in www.theleadershiphub.com and there are several learning points in there ) about how the leader’s job is to allow people to shine, and look at how people like Tony Hsieh, CEO at Zappo’s, lead, to learn how to do it.

“People are like stained – glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed
only if there is a light from within.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

It’s part of a leader’s job to spot the light in someone’s eyes and allow them to shine. Particularly in a downturn when it’s dark outside and everyone’s worried. If the light isn’t there or is wavering, then it’s a leader’s job to help the person find it and release it. I know it’s a big ask. What, you think this stuff is easy?

So, how do I action this?

Here’s one question to consider asking people at the end of a work day to help with this ‘light’ thing: “What did you enjoy about today?” If you’re really brave, you could write into people’s job expectations or job descriptions a three-word expectation “Enjoy your job”, and then work with each person who reports to you to figure out what you and they need to do to make that happen.

There is no such thing as mundane, other than we let it become so.

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