Make it fun again? Fun?! Most owners and companies are just trying to survive in this troubling economy.
Yes, I understand. But trying to just survive is never going to be enough of a strategy to survive, let alone succeed.
For long-term success, owners and employees need to want to wake up and come to a company that makes work more like fun and less like drudgery. And owners will quickly burn out if all they’re doing is approaching work as hard instead of work as challenging and fun.
I know because work was getting to be boring, frustrating and downright draining by the time I was 40 years old. That’s because I had already worked 18 full years of work at my family business. That’s a lie. Like most any other S.O.B. (Son of Boss), most of my free time growing up was spent working in some capacity in the family business. It could be emptying trash cans or sweeping up when I was a boy to running calls and helping on installs when I was a teenager. So there were a lot more than 18 years in the business by the time I turned 40.
For me, I knew I had to reinvent myself, as well as how I was spending my days at work. I needed to look at what I could be doing with my time that would be enjoyable and still have the greatest impact on the company. The thought was now in my head.
One day at work, I stopped in the middle of creating a sales proposal and looked away from my computer. That’s when I realized for the first time that my selling $500,000 more a year wasn’t as important as training three new salespeople to sell $1 million a year each. And running service calls myself (no matter how good I was) wasn’t going to be nearly as important as training three new techs to run calls properly.
I needed to focus more on teaching others how to do their work - whether it was being successful at sales, operations and technical work or properly answering the phones and dispatching. I knew this was the right way to make work fun again because whenever our employees struggled and they couldn’t handle even the routine things, they were sucking the life out of me. And when people were sucking the life out of me, that was no fun for me and I made sure it was no fun for them.
The problem was I would have to learn how to train them. I wasn’t born to train.
Power Of TrainingHere’s the good news I found out: There are no born trainers. They’re made. I became a student of training technology and techniques. I attended classes on training, read books on training and spent time in front of a never-blinking video camera. My time watching myself train and being brutally honest about what I was watching made it clear what I needed to improve.
The funny thing is that, as I got better at training, I soon found out that I loved the power of training. And training was “making it fun again”!
Making it fun is still more than a dedication to training. It’s an attitude. And all you get to control at your company is the attitude because people are watching your attitude and behavior. For better or worse, you lead by example.
During my weekly consulting calls, I was curious as to what “makes it fun” at the companies I work with. That led me to poll my long-time clients: “Is work fun for you today at your company? And if yes, what makes it fun for you and your employees?”
The Top 10 answers I got were:
- It’s fun when you’re making money (FYI, the next nine points have a lot to do with this).
- It’s fun when you have systems in place for staff to follow.
- It’s fun when you’re staff knows the “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me) for doing so.
- It’s fun when the staff knows that the owner accepts accountability to them and when the staff accepts accountability to the owner.
- It’s fun when the culture becomes “us” rather than “them.”
- It’s fun when you don’t have to spend your days soothing irate customers because you’re able to deliver on your promises.
- It’s fun when you’re seeing people develop, grow and move up the organizational chart.
- It’s fun when you can go on vacation and the business still functions.
- It’s fun when staff comes to you with problems and possible solutions vs. finding problems to complain about and leave for you to solve.
- It’s fun to be growing while your competition is not.