As it appeared in the daily nation of May 5th 2015
We celebrated labour days on Friday May 1st, as we did, a number of questions crossed my mind. How many organizations can confidently say that it is our people that make the difference? How many pride themselves in having a great team? How many of us love what we do and are great team players? How many people are making a positive difference at their workplace? Many great business leaders acknowledge their people as their greatest asset and spend time and effort to get the best. On the other hand some leaders complain about their people and see them as their greatest impediment. People not only make organizations who they are today, but are also critical in determining who these organizations become tomorrow. I strongly believe that the quality of staff, managers and board members, their commitment and dedication as well as their attitudes and behaviours has a direct impact on the success of any organization. It gives the organization a competitive advantage and also greatly impacts the quality of products and services.
I recently read an interesting blog post on Huffington Post by Kathy Caprino. In the post, Kathy refers to three kinds of people – those who hate their work, and complain bitterly, those who just tolerate their work and see it as a paycheck and aren’t looking for more, and finally, those who love their work, and relish it. In which category do you and others in your organization fall? I believe that for our people to make the difference, they need to be in the third category. It is our people that steer our organizations, it is our people that make or break our organizations and it is our people that make the difference. This can only happen when they love what they do.
People make a difference by carrying out their responsibilities effectively. It is also through everyday interactions that we make or break relationships. These interactions and relationships are with each other, with our business partners, our suppliers and with our customers, our family and friends and even with the public at large. Millions of interactions happen at our workplaces presenting us with an opportunity to make the difference especially when we serve others. When our people make the difference it simply means they make us unique. Once in a while I get the opportunity to observe various staff carry out their tasks. Some seem to enjoy what they were doing while others seem indifferent. We cannot make the difference by being indifferent!
As organizations grow, some become complacent in their recruitment and selection. People in category 1 and 2 find their way into teams resulting into inconsistencies in the quality of products and services. When our people share a common goal, share common values, know what is expected of them, have a supportive leadership and have the right attitude it becomes easy for them to make the difference. When we make the difference at our workplaces our legacy lives on.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy