What are you willing to do?

This blog post begins in the office kitchen. Many things happen here and typically the conversation is all or nothing. You either say “good morning”, “how are you?”, or some other necessary but rhetorical greeting…OR…you en up in an unexpected deep conversation about work or inspirational conversation about Life. Perhaps this is just me, but this is generally my experience.

The other day I found myself engaged in one of those deep work/Life conversations. I was unloading the office dishwasher from its daily run of coffee mugs, careful to ensure I don’t put any away with lipstick marks or leftover oatmeal. Several colleagues walked through and several small talk greeting exchanges took place. I began to think about those who have volunteered their time emptying the dishwasher before me. There is a VP in our company that I would venture to say may be the most experienced at unloading our dishwasher, while some entry-level employees walk right by observing each day.

So, as I took on this task I wondered…what is different about the people who are willing to unload the dishwasher? This is clearly “not their job”. Technically it is no ones job, but yet it is a task that must be completed each day, by a volunteer. Dozens of people drink coffee each day and rely on a clean mug in the cupboard. Unfortunately there are only a select few willing to sacrifice their time for the collective good of the people of the organization (at least with this one task).

I wondered, are those people emptying the dishwasher, the same people who are willing to “do what it takes”? Will they be the team member to raise their hand and take the task that is “not their job”? If you aren’t willing to unload the dishwasher, what are you willing to do? Where is the line? Are you willing to do something closer to “your job” or “your pay grade” or “your skill set”?

An effective company is built on a great culture. A great culture is influenced by many things from top to bottom. However, one of the greatest components to creating a positive, collaborative culture is created when we are willing to_______________. Willing to say “I will”, willing to say “that’s me”, willing to say “I’ll figure it out”, willing to “do it” because it needs to be done and you can. This behavior is witnessed, admired, respected and most importantly emulated. A company to fuel this collaborative culture is well on its way.

Now ask yourself, are you willing to empty the dishwasher? What are you willing to do? Regardless, do one thing today that “is not your job”. You will help, it will be noticed and others will join you.

Next post, “making the office coffee when it is empty”.

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