Yet again this morning the headlines in the news revolved around the slow and sluggish economy and why we as citizens should look after our elderly counterparts and how many under 14 year old children would sacrifice their pocket money and entertainment time if their parents/guardians would give up smoking! It’s as if the media is requesting us to check our moral compass. Now not only are the powers that be asking that we start being prudent and put in as opposed to take out – not just financially, personally or daily but in every aspect of our lives.
A weird combination of news but you can’t help but think this economic crisis is surely something we have to accept is partly our doing. Aren’t we an era of credit lovers? If you haven’t got the money then whack it on the plastic because you deserve it! If you can get something for nothing – go for it. What’s in it for me? Looking after number 1 first, 2nd and last and we have become so self-centred that the bigger picture of adding value: caring for our environment, caring for each other seems to have faded into oblivion. We know behaviours are cyclical and only an effect of our environment – can we challenge the status quo? Can we start putting more of our energies in to giving.
Day in day out we speak to media owners, media agencies, research agencies and client side companies and we are lucky enough to garner some great insight into how our partnering clients feel about some of their workforce and the behaviours that employees exhibit across the board.
Only yesterday we were briefed on a role because the employer had to question a member of staff on their intent to do the job! They turned up daily, but their remit was to sell not just to turn up and this part of the role was being totally ignored. This sort of conversation isn’t unusual. More and more employers are now expecting to see the bare drive and ambition that their staff have to drive their companies. Just last week the discussion around the UK being able to disengage themselves from underperformers without reproach was a big topic of conversation as many have started to believe that Britain is fast becoming mediocre in its expectations. The bar has been lowered and in economic downturns people want to see staff invested and engaged in the need to drive a business.
Do we as a nation resort to patronising people by breaking down exactly what their behaviour looks like? Our client yesterday stated a typical problem – “My departing sales manager hasn’t hit their target for three months yet they turn up bang on time, leave bang on time, take a full lunch break, and have had five sick days in the last 8 weeks. Surely if they really wanted to deliver you would be able to see it via their input?” I can’t disagree with this fact, so why is it some individuals can’t see that their moral compass is out of kilter with their peers/ society?
To read the news today citing how we have an obligation to look after our elderly has angered quite a few people as they feel it is insulting to even be asked. It’s a given that we look after our predecessors. However many of us live in our own ego centric bubble. Satisfying our own egos, pleasing ourselves at anybody else’s expense.
There is an overriding feeling that “it’s there for the taking” but perhaps we need to think about putting back in; re-investing in our own “reason d’etre”. Asking ourselves, “Why am I employed? What is expected of me? What do my actions look like to my peers? Am I value for money”. It may be that you work in sales and therefore selling is your role – this is the core purpose of your role so that is what you do to ensure you deliver on your remit. Perhaps you are a planner in an agency and you are expected to be authoritative on various mediums and where brands spend their money – then this is what you have to do. So often we get distracted from the core purpose of our roles. Remind yourself about the functions of your role. Envisage your manager and what their perception of you may be – ensure that you are a “value add” in this market. You are a necessity. Cut all the fluff from your daily function, the water cooler moments, the coffee maker – no one is remembered for making the best coffee. No one is ever rewarded for being the best joker in the office – it doesn’t matter that you’re funny unless you are stand -up comedian.
Apologies if I sound like Forrest Gump but life is like a bank account and you can only take out what you have put in! If you don’t want to put in – to your role, to your bank account, to your relationships then they will all be in deficit and there is only a certain amount of time before patience wears thin and the bank stops allowing you an overdraft, your employer sees better, more invested talent with greater intent to deliver and your relationship becomes dry and a baron land.
Pay it forward – do the job you were hired to do, be the person you truly are. Good things happen to people when they give without expecting anything in return. When they over deliver because they just wanted to. When they open a door for someone because they want to! When they stand up for someone on their entering a room! When they say they are going to do something and they stick to their word.
Written by: Emy Rumble-Mettle