America’s Leadership Expert : Extraordinary Employees
Clay Stairs: This is Clay Stairs with podcast number 24, “How do extraordinary employees think about work”. Man, at Clay Stairs Tulsa Business Leadership. America’s Leadership Expert This is something that I have experienced in my own companies, as well as I travel across the country and get to speak to groups in several major cities across the country. This is one of the key things that I get to talk about and one of the key things that I get to help managers and business owners work through with their workforce, is how do we get our employees to actually engage in the work on a daily basis. Because you’ve probably heard the statistics, 71% of the American workforce is disengaged at work, seven out of ten. And 24% of that is actively disengaged. That just cracks me up. I don’t even know what actively disengaged means. Is that like you’re driving to work and you are making plans on what not to do during that day? How many hours can I waste, you actually plan. I can only assume it’s got to be something like that, to be actively disengaged. But that’s 24% of our American workforce.
So what we want to do today is I want to reach out to you managers and you business owners and help you train America’s Leadership Expert, help you help your employees to become extraordinary employees. It all begins, as you’ve heard me say many times, it all begins with how you think. How you think is the most important thing about you. Let me do this, let me give you a couple pictures. Envision this if you will. Here we have an employee and it’s almost like you can picture this perfect employee and it’s almost like they’ve got octopus arms. They’ve got a phone in one hand, they’ve got a calculator in a hand, they’ve got a pen, they’ve got a computer in one hand, they’ve got a phone in one of their hands. They have got a lot going on. When you look at their face, they’re calm and they’re smiling. So just see if you can picture that if you can inside of your head.
Now, what you want to do is consider, when you’re looking at this type of employee, what is going on inside of their head, what are they thinking. Again, they’ve got all of this activity going on, multi-tasking, productive, energized. What’s going on inside their head? And they’re smiling in the midst of it. How are they thinking about the work? As opposed to, now let’s get another picture in your head. Picture now, you’ve got an employee sitting at their desk, an employee that you are paying, and they’re sitting at their desk, they’ve got their chin in their hand as they’re leaning onto their chin, the clock right behind them is saying five till five. America’s Leadership Expert They’re sitting there and they are yawning. There’s nothing on their desk and they’re just sitting there looking up into the sky.
What’s going on inside of this person’s head? It’s the same work environment, but you’ve got one employee with one mindset when they think of the work, and another employee thinking a very different way, having a very different picture about the work. This, again, when I’m working with my employees and when I’m training my employees, I begin, I start with how will we think about the work. Before I load up their to-do list every single day, before I even bring them into my office, I make sure that I spend time talking with them about here at the Leadership Initiative, what we do, this is how we think about work.
Let me give you another visual here. Let’s say that there’s three boxes, two boxes on the side and one box in the middle. We’ll say that the box in the middle is a big box, much bigger than the other two. What we’re going to do is say the box on the left-hand side has your name in it. We’ll say it has Clay’s name in it. And the box in the middle has the word “WORK” in it, in big, bold kind of scary letters, WORK. And then on the other, the third box on the other wise of work, we’re going to put in there, “What Clay wants”. I think, unfortunately, what happens with most of our employees, obviously, 71 at least, the percentage here in America, the way that we picture work is work is this big box that is in the way between me and what I want. Work is just in the way. It is a necessary evil. I want something, but it’s not in this box. But I have to do what’s in the work box so that I can get to this place of what I want. Man, if I had a choice, I sure would get out, for sure would get around that box called work America’s Leadership Expert.
Unfortunately, this is the way that most people think about work and this way of thinking about work will always position you to avoid and resist the work. You can’t get around it. If you see work as being in the way, then you will naturally, in the way of getting what you want, you will naturally begin to resist and avoid the work. Because it’s just natural for us to want to cut the corners, go the easy way, get to the place where we want to go with the least amount of effort. At Clay Stairs with Tulsa Business Leadership, this is something that we get to help our business owners and help our managers with.
America’s Leadership Expert Another way to look at this very same thing, okay, there’s still work, it’s not that the work goes away, but another way to look at this picture is, let’s again, let’s say that we’ve got a box, it’s got your name on it on the left-hand side. It’s got Clay’s name on it. Then over on the right we have another box is “what Clay wants”. But between the two we have a vehicle. Between the two we’ve got a car. Between the two we’ve got this beautiful red, this beautiful black, whatever color you want, I mean, it is the car you want. It is the car that you would love to go out and get today if you don’t already have it. To think of work in this way, this is a much better model because what is going on now is work has become a vehicle. Work is the vehicle that gets me from where I am to where I want to be.
Again, if we’re not careful, what I want will still be on the other side and this is where things can get difficult. I think this is where we get the disconnect because we don’t see work as anything that we want. America’s Leadership Expert Work is not something that we want. So somehow we have to embrace the vehicle that we’re in today, the job that we have today, we have to embrace that vehicle so we can connect with the daily work that is going on around us so that we can get where we want to go.
So, there’s three statements and these three statements just might hack you off. As I travel around speaking with Tulsa business leadership, I’ve found here that these statements have made people mad before. Here we go, statement number one. You have been created to work. Did you catch that? You have been created to work. Number two, work is good. Number three, work is important for you. You know, some people point at the Bible and say that it supports this idea that we were created to just hang out, as if we were in a garden all day long. The “work” is a curse. But did you know that three out of four people, catch this, did you know that three out of four people in America today, according to a Gallup poll, three out of four people in America today still see the Bible as the word of God. This is from a Gallup poll back in 2014. They still see the Bible as the word of God.
America’s Leadership Expert So the reason why I bring this up is because I think it is a big reason why many people have this idea that work is bad. They see work as being a curse. But here’s the deal. The idea of work was given before the fall. The idea of work was given before Adam sinned. Did you catch that? In Genesis chapter 2 verse 15, “The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” It was part of Adam’s design, it was part of his purpose, it was part of his created being. You guys, leisure is purposeless. Yes, it may be really nice for a short time to have no responsibilities and lack production and just disconnect. But before long, I promise you, you will actually begin to offend your very nature when you resist work and produce no valuable outcome. You will offend your very nature, you will offend your soul.
Let me give you another picture here. Let’s get a picture over here on the left of like a lump of clay, a lump of clay, a molding clay. It’s just this big lump, no form or anything like that. And then over on the right, let’s picture a sculpture. It’s made out of clay, in fact, it’s made out of this same lump. But on the right side it’s a finished sculpture, maybe a bust of a person or just a beautiful sculpture made out of this same clay.
So the question here is, how did the lump of clay get to the sculpture? How did the lump of clay get to the masterpiece? The way that it happened was through pressure. As soon as the sculptor’s hands are placed on the lump of clay and begins to press on the clay, that is how the clay gets molded. It’s how the clay gets sculpted. America’s Leadership Expert So you say when you go to work, oh work is hard, oh these people, oh I can’t believe they’re asking me to do this, I don’t want to have to do this, this is difficult, and everything, that is pressure. Your job is molding you. Your job, your boss, the people you’re around, they are molding you.
Will Smith, you’ve probably heard of him before. He’s an actor, producer, rapper, song-writer. Seems like anything that the guy does, he has all these awards and just does a wonderful job in it. He said this. “Where I excel is in my ridiculous sickening work ethic. While other guys are sleeping I’m working.” This is embracing this mindset as a worker, embracing a mindset of when I look at the job, when I look at what I need to get done, I am embracing the job as a vehicle, I’m embracing it as a way to mold me and train me and teach me.
What are the things we are gaining from work? There are three things I want to outline for you. Number one, skills, number two, knowledge, and number three, character. Those are the three areas that constantly on a daily basis that if I am aware and if I’m willing to embrace it I can be growing on a daily basis in my skills, knowledge and character. And your job gives you an opportunity to do this. Your job is a shaping tool. And extraordinary employees, awesome employees, they look at their job in this way. It is a tool to shape me and position me and prepare me for the next step in my life. Whereas seven out of ten employees that are disengaged at work, they simply look at the work as getting in the way of helping them get where they want to get. They can’t wait for Thursday for the weekend to begin. They can’t wait until everybody can meet up this weekend. They live for the weekend. Everybody’s working for the weekend, is the song. I’m sorry I didn’t know the song was coming out today, but it did America’s Leadership Expert.
So there you have it. This is Clay Stairs with podcast number 24, “How do extraordinary employees think about work?”