Strategy

16th January 2014

Worthwhile Work by Ian Kinnery

Today’s blog is a little more reflective and personal, probably because I have spent the last week in hospital in a strange town surrounded by strangers and entirely dependant upon them in every way.

This has given me the privilege of observing a whole array of people at work and to witness the differences in their performances dependant upon their own motivations and circumstances.

There are many things I could say but one thought in particular is at the forefront of my mind. Another patient, who was better able to converse than me was speaking to a junior nurse about her circumstances.

This particular young girl said that she woke at 4 to get the 5.15 train to Central London to be there by 7.30 to do a 12-hour shift.

She told how she had once worked in her local hospital but had never really enjoyed it but how she was “proud” to work in this particular hospital, and that made the long hours and travel worthwhile.

Her work, I observed, was gentle, professional, deeply caring and it made such a difference to the people for whom she was caring. It was a pleasure to see, and a significant factor in the quality of the experience of the patients, many of whom were seriously ill and infirm.

That made me think of the joy of doing our best work, in an environment that we feel we can flourish in and in an area that we feel is worthwhile.

I was forced to also wonder how often we, as managers and leaders, fan that flame of enthusiasm and how often we snuff it out; about whether we create an environment where people want to and feel capable of doing their best work or whether we create a place where people just come to punch their ticket, by putting the hours and the minimum effort in just to get through the shift.

Leadership has a big part to play in all of this. When we employ someone, at best we buy a certain amount of their time. Whether they choose to bring their heart, spirit, enthusiasm and creativity to work with them is a personal choice for them and them alone, but I believe it is a choice that is influenced by leadership and environment.

The difference between a committed staff member and an uncommitted staff member is huge. As a patient that commitment translates directly to the quality of care we receive, but I wonder, in your business and in my business, what is the difference in experience for our customer when they are dealing with committed team members and disengaged team members.

Surely as leaders we have an obligation to create an environment where our team members want to always deliver their best work, both individually and as a team.