As 2014 gives way to 2015, it’s natural to reflect on the past year and think about what attitudes, ideas, and efforts to let go and which ones to carry forward. One area I will be carrying forward into 2015 is a growing appreciation for both the community I serve and the caliber of people who work for the Town of Camp Verde.
Just before Thanksgiving Town employees and volunteers participated in what we call, All-Hands Training (so named because everyone is required to attend). This is how we make sure we are current on things like, how to safely use chemical substances, how to respond in emergency situations, how to avoid workplace harassment, best practices for avoiding injuries while working, etc. Along with the required subjects, there’s usually a few motivational and informational presentations in the mix to lighten things up.
At this year’s All-Hands Training, we talked briefly about a topic covered in detail by Simon Sinek in the book, Start With Why: how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. The basic idea Mr. Sinek expands upon, is this: when you know why you do what you do, you are more likely to communicate in a way that inspires others to want to do it (or something like it) too. Identifying why you do what you do is sometimes harder than talking about what you do or how you do your job, but it can be quite eye-opening and may even provide direction. I’m not talking about why you get mad at your spouse or why you eat more sugar than you know is good for you. I’m talking about why you get up and go to work every day.
We asked everyone present at the All-Hands Training to write down the top two reasons why they do what they do. What gets them out of bed each morning to get to work on time? The results fit roughly into one of four categories – to serve people, for the community, for the paycheck, or other.
Granted, this concept can appear to be a bit on the idealistic side, because not everyone feels they have had much choice in picking a career. Rather, they ended up where they are by default or through a need to survive. Twenty percent of responses fell into the, I work “for the paycheck” category with 5% of the twenty stating their desire to provide for their families, both honorable reasons for showing up at work every day. At some level we all work for the money to afford the things or experiences we pursue in our leisure time.
Keep in mind that each person gave two reasons why they do what they do. It is likely that some of the same people who need to work for a living are also motivated to serve. I was not surprised to see that 58% of responses from Town employees and volunteers expressing why they do what they do were reasons related to serving people or the community. I see this attitude reflected in the way Town employees respond to citizens and take care of the community from top management on down.
- 3% like to work with or meet people
- 10% care about and/or like to help people
- 2% want to serve where needed
- 5% are loyal to and/or enjoy the people they work with
- 9% want to make a positive difference in the community
- 15% work to serve the community they love
- 2% want their work to be relevant
- 6% work for the future prosperity and progress of Camp Verde
- 2% take pride in the Town
- 5% like adventure or a challenge
The part that really surprised me in this exercise falls into the “other” category. Twenty-one percent of responses stated, “I like my job” or for “personal satisfaction.” This enjoyment of the job they have or do takes me right back to my growing appreciation for the caliber of people who work for the Town of Camp Verde. There’s something quite satisfying about working with people who enjoy their work and take pride in serving their community. As we move through 2015, we will practice talking about why we do what we do at the library instead of trying to explain what we do or how we do our jobs.