There is a utility company that has very worked hard to become a purpose driven, positive organization. They have worked hard to have an engaged and empowered workforce. At a company meeting one of the senior executives was speaking and shared an indicator of what happens when a company becomes purpose driven and positive.
The executive said, “Fifteen years ago, when I looked at my day’s schedule, and I was slotted to be with employees, I became filled with dread. Every such moment was an experience with grousing and complaining. I always left those experiences feeling depressed. Today the opposite is true. I look forward to spending time with the first line people because I walk away inspired.”
He gave a recent example.
He spent several hours riding with a technician. At one point they went into an impoverished home. There was no furniture, kids everywhere, and no heat. In such situations the technician’s directive was clear. The technician makes an inspection of the furnace, “red tags” the problem, and leaves. In this case the technician went to his truck, found a part, returned and fixed the furnace.
Later the technician told his very senior companion, “I know what the policy says, but there is no way that I was going to leave those kids without heat because of a ten dollar part.”
In reflecting on the experience, the senior executive said, “You cannot write procedures to bring about that kind of behavior. Compensation is important. People need to feed their families. But compensation does not drive greatness. Fixing that furnace is the kind of thing that people do when they understand the big picture. They become engaged and empowered. You never hear grousing or complaining, any more, it is a delight to be with our people.”