- On October 16, 2018
Do you know who processes your travel reimbursements, cleans your floors, empties your trash, guards the building?
If these people are not directly interacting with you in your job, chances are you don’t.
As we used to say in the Army, there’s the pointy tip of the spear…but it doesn’t fly alone. The pointy tip doesn’t go very far without the long shaft to guide it to its target. It may be the infantry, armor, aviation who connect with the enemy, however there is a lot of “back end” support that gets them there.
The same in your organization. The client facing workers often get the recognition. And then there’s all the others who keep the operation running smoothly. The custodial staff, the accounting office, the security detail, the admins. How often do we take time to recognize them as individuals and their unique contribution to our success?
I was recently in New Mexico to attend some advanced training. (It’s the “land of enchantment”… what better omen than that?) I spent an afternoon at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque on “Indigenous Peoples Day” (in most of the United States, celebrated as Columbus Day).
One of the “special” exhibits at the center focused on the many people who make up the “long shaft” of the operation–the accounting office, the ticket office, the custodial staff. The exhibit engaged, in their own words, how they had come to work there and what the organization and mission meant to them. Each person had selected and shared a special piece of the massive art collection that had deep meaning for them.
When was the last time your organization focused on the “unsung heroes”? Have you ever taken a few minutes to ask how they came to work there, what is important to them?
We often focus on the leaders–their history, their credentials, their successes. There’s a lot more to an organization than the tip of the spear. There are the workers who keep things running in the back room, the hallway, the garage, the bathroom. Everyone has a role to play. Everyone is there for a reason.
What can you do to show that each person, no matter what position they hold, is an important part of the team?
Photo credit: JMaliszewski, 2018. Special exhibit and mural at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque New Mexico.