When I set out on my career as a freelance communications and engagement specialist, I decided to call my company ‘I Like Mondays’. At the time, I had three young kids (they’re now a bit older) and weekends were always totally exhausting. While I loved everything about being a “hands-on Dad”, I also secretly looked forward to being able to escape the chaos of my home life to the sanctity of a work environment; a chance to be around adults who on the whole behaved rationally and didn’t expect me to deal with their tantrums and toileting needs.
What started out as a private joke became a marketing tool and useful conversation starter. How many of your employees look foward to Mondays? If your employees dread coming to work (I call this Mondayphobia), how does that affect your customers?
I also found that the phrase ‘I Like Mondays’ provoked some strong reactions. Typical responses were ‘actually I prefer Friday nights’ or ’you can’t be serious – no one likes Mondays’.
Over the years I have met many people who genuinely do enjoy their work. It is a question I always like to ask people. People who love what they do are my inspiration. I want to find out how you can bottle what they have and use it to motivate others.
What type of jobs are we talking about? At one extreme are the people who, if they weren’t paid to do what they do, would find a way to do it anyway. Think about fast jet pilots, racing car drivers, or (and this is a perfect example) sports reporters: if someone wasn’t paying them to watch and talk about sport, what else would they do?
But I also meet many people who do less glamorous jobs who still love their work. When you scratch beneath the surface, you generally find that such people enjoy their job because it gives them a sense of purpose and self worth. They enjoy being good at what they do, whether it’s helping people, solving problems, coaching people or simply the experience of being part of a great team. A common denominator is that people who enjoy their work usually feel appreciated for what they do – if not by their employer, by the people who directly benefit.
Of course some organisations make it easier for people to feel this way than others. They create the right culture, appoint the right people as managers and develop them in the right way, engage their employees effectively to understand how they contribute to something that is meaningful. This, essentially, is what I will be writing about in this blog. I hope you will drop in from time to time!