I am generally a positive and optimistic person. I believe that people and organizations should focus on their strengths, unless the weaknesses are debilitating, and build from a foundation of strong fundamentals.
BUT, I am also a realist that knows people don’t always operate at their top-level all the time. We are human and we need to recharge. We are human and we can make mistakes. Everyone has a story, such as health challenges or job loss or some other travesty, that can have a negative impact on their attitude and general demeanor.
So I cringed a bit when I saw the outline for a presentation that is being given in the near future. The description notes that everyone should be in a happy place and we can all create the change necessary in our work culture and world place. The end goal appears to be to reduce the amount of hard work. Lofty target, for sure.
AND, I am not so foolish to believe that “the secret” is just to believe and things will happen.
In the movie “Rocky Balboa,” Sylvester Stallone’s ageing fighter gives his son a “talking to/pep talk.”
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. “
Finding the common good/goal in a workplace should be easy – center your activities on the customer. We all know this is harder than simply making the statement. If we commit to the plan, believe in ourselves and each other, and work hard like Rocky told his son, we improve our opportunity for success. Hard work is always going to be an integral part of any successful effort.
Why do we want to shy away from hard work? Working hard and accomplishing the task, project, etc., gives us a feeling of accomplishment. And this is what we should be focused on.
Some of my most satisfying professional moments have been achieving our goal after many months of hard work by everyone. Genuine joy is important to share. And it is so nice to see people being appreciated for their efforts.
Paul Harvey, the famous American newsman, wrote one of his insightful stories about hard work. Here is a link. He claims there is no gospel looked down on more than the gospel of hard work. Listen to the rest of the story to hear how he sums it up.
I believe most people work hard, or at least try to work hard. When you go to work you are paid to work. It is called work for a reason.
I remember my Dad telling me a story about when the employees in his department “worked to rule” because of some union negotiation with the government. My Dad and his manager colleagues said “fine” and started to track how long people took for coffee breaks and lunches according to the union contract. When the employees started to get written up for being late or taking too much time, they complained. This was not what was done before. But, this is the “work to rule” that the employees wanted and they didn’t like the consequences. Needless to say the work to rule ended quickly.
We do legitimately have an opportunity many times in each day to build towards a better person, organization, and culture. We can look for ways to get better. We can make solid suggestions on how to improve things or eliminate waste. We can set up special activities to give back into the community to make our communities better.
We must be willing to dig down and get to work on a consistent basis. I believe that our hard work in these areas can get us closer to sunshine and rainbows than simply wishing it to be.