Does everyone understand the importance of a ‘work ethic’?

By Bob Morrell on October 1, 2019

When growing up, there comes a point when you realise you can earn money for work. You look for suitable weekend or evening employment and learn to stack shelves, serve coffee, serve drinks or stand in a shop serving people. These jobs all seem pretty dull, but they require us to be somewhere on time, dressed suitably and with a ‘switched on attitude’ ready to deliver our work. This helps us in the future – and people who have had these jobs always have a keener and more definite work ethic later in life because they’ve learnt the basics early on.

All businesses have exciting parts. If you’re selling software, it’s when the client sees the real benefit of your system and wants to buy what you’re selling. If you’re a travel agent it’s when the customer says ‘yes’ to booking a holiday, and if you’re a solicitor it’s phoning a client to say their new house has just exchanged contracts, or that their divorce is finally over! In our work it is 3 things – the meeting of new clients and pitching for business, delivering the actual training and coaching and lastly making training films which is great fun. In order to get to those 3 things there is masses of work in the back ground. Marketing campaigns, are pretty dull, but entirely necessary, logistics are essential but not really exciting, the administration of training programmes, vital, and the simple process of paying bills and raising invoices, are crucial. Calling clients and contacts, writing articles and books, generating social media, promoting what we do, creating notable activities are very important these days. These all take time and can feel like thankless tasks, at times. Without all of these activities, delivered efficiently and on time, we wouldn’t get to do any of the exciting things.

I met a company recently who run an events venue. The day to day running is very straightforward. The exciting bit is that once a year the entire staff go on a weekend break together to the sun. This is a great experience and a huge motivator – that’s the exciting thing for them.

So if you look at your team, do they all understand the importance of what they’re doing? If they can accomplish these tasks with vim and vigour – in the same way they served people or stacked shelves, then you know, as a company you will be on track for the fun things once more. Conversely, if someone has never worked in their youth, then they may be surprised when they begin a job, at just how dull work can be – especially when they don’t understand what their work is moving towards. As employers we must make sure that each part of the machine understands what all the different elements do, and contribute towards. Without that broader understanding, and training, you risk inertia and poor quality delivery and productivity.

As Executive Coaches, many senior managers tell us about their attempts to create the right impact with their teams – we would suggest this is a good area to start in.