Archives For Work Ethic

A senior worker teaching his junior the operation of a fork lift vehicle in a factoryFor me my dad was my role model when it comes to work. Granted, he could be called a workaholic with total justification. And he did go overboard. Perhaps it had something to do with his childhood. He never finished the 8th grade, and his family was very poor with little indoor plumbing, if you know what I mean. Let’s just say that if you had to go to the bathroom in the winter time you made it quick!

However, he taught me some things that will always be a part of me.

Another person who I have admired from a distance is Jack Welch, the well known former CEO of GE. Once he was asked about the secret to success.

Without hesitating he unequivocally said, “Find out what your boss wants and then over-deliver.”

My dad personified that.

Here were a few of his work rules. I use the word rules because in my dad’s way of thinking this is simply the way it is. Any other approach was simply unacceptable.

1. Show up ten minutes early. Hit the ground running. Walk around and make sure everyone has what they need to start the day. We all know how easy it is to waste the first ten minutes of a work day.

2. Stay late. Walk around the job site and start planning for the next day. Even today successful business people suggest that one of their secrets to success is planning the next day the day before.

3. Know what your boss wants done. For those of us working for dad this was easy. He was more than very clear as to what he expected.

4. Then exceed those expectations. Here is how it played out for my dad. He was a crane operator in the steel erection business. While the guys were eating lunch my dad would wipe down the crane and keep it spotless. Put an emphasis on “spotless” and you get an idea of what I am talking about. That would exceed anyone’s expectations. And no one would ever expect you to do it during lunch!

5. Never lower the bar. My dad never did.

And one day someone noticed. Outside the company. When this particular person was looking for a business partner for his company, he thought of my dad. And my dad was offered an opportunity that changed his life.

My dad never set out to run and own his own business. It was the furthest thing from his mind. He didn’t set out to be different. He never set out to WOW others.

He just did those five things and he stood out at work. And it paid off in a big way.  Anyone can do these five things. This week you can stand out at work.

Will you? It’s your choice.

 

 

Before you get the idea that I am a little out of date, I am not talking about digital technology.  Plus most of us have converted to using our phones as our PDAs.

I want to address three huge issues in all of our lives.  As you know I often draw life lessons from the sports world, and while watching this past weekend these three stood out and were difference makers.

If one of these three is missing you may wind up beating yourself.

Let me illustrate.

P is for Passion.  Even sports fans have little desire to watch games that lack passion.  It’s not unusual for NBA fans to skip most of the regular season and only tune in for the playoffs.  I confess, I fit into that category.

During the San Francisco/Carolina game Steve Smith brought the passion in the first half.  However, after he got banged up he showed less passion.  As his passion subsided so did the teams.

It’s not unusual for one person on a team to fuel the passion for the rest of the team.  During the second half as Carolina’s passion weakened the game eventually got away from them.

A high level of passion would have made a difference in the second half and perhaps changed the outcome of the game.

Passion alone can sometimes make all the difference.

So when you head out the door take passion with you.  Take it to work.  Take it to your next meeting. Take it to your next conversation.

Passion; How is the first trait of your personal PDA?

Working_SteelErectionWithout a doubt many of my values about work came from my dad.  My dad taught me that if I was not ten minutes early then I was late.

He stressed getting on the job early and going over what had to be done for the day.  The reasoning was simple.  If the crew and I showed up right at starting time, the crew would stand around while I got my game plan together.  That equals wasted time and wasted money on wages.

Then when the day was over hang around a little.  Reflect, walk around, and survey what needs to be done the following day.  In all honesty I tended to continue to think about work long after I had left the job.

In construction it’s so common for the guys to pull up right at starting time.  In their minds they should get paid to get their tools out of their cars, take five minutes to get on the building, and have a few minutes of conversation.  Then when quitting time came they flew off the building as if they were going to a fire.  Go figure.  If they were asked to work five minutes extra they balked.

Which simply means that if you arrive first, or at least early, and leave last, or at least hang around a few minutes, you will set yourself apart from the crowd.

To this day it’s almost impossible for me not to arrive first and leave last.  For years it was ingrained into me, and I’m thankful that today it remains a core value.