"Thank God It's Monday"
- Apr 22, 2009
“Thank God It’s Monday”
- “Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.”
- ——Mark Twain
Anyone who has ever taken a car trip with a medium to large family has experienced (or at least heard of) that moment when Mom or Dad has to turn and say, “Don’t make me stop this car and come back there.”
Well, why not? For starters, it’s raining so hard outside that the wipers can’t quite keep up, and the driver, Dad, can barely see—he couldn’t get to sleep after pouring over maps with too many cups of coffee until way past midnight. Mom is just starting to imagine she left the backdoor unlocked, forgot to stop the mail, and...did she leave the oven on? The air in the vehicle feels and smells stuffy, even though the air conditioner is set higher than it should be. Tensions have been mounting for some time. Someone wants to go to a bathroom, even though they had just left one 20 minutes ago. Angie is lobbying for the highway to make time, while Robbie wants to take the back roads and visit the giant ball of string. Little Kelsie is in full gear whine, “I didn’t want to go on this stupid trip in the first place—I wanted to stay home with my friends. Waaa, waaa, waaa.”
Now, imagine that’s not the family traveling on a holiday, but it is a business going about its daily course of trying to keep afloat in as difficult and competitive marketplace as has ever existed.
In a way, any business is a lot like a family. Psychologists like to talk about dysfunctional families—without whom television sitcoms would be at a loss for subject matter—and fully functional families, the latter being an ideal that is seemingly never entirely realized. You have probably walked into a bank or restaurant or department store and thought, “Yep. Dysfunctional.” The employees are not getting along, and you’re the recipient of all the toxic venom you can endure in the time you’re there; next you realize they serve their attitude “to go” because it stays with you for some time after you leave.
However, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ve also walked into other businesses where the people seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s presence. They are happy, and it shows in the quality of their work, and this infuses your experience as a customer.
Believe it or not, there actually are places where people wake up after a weekend, glance at the clock, and say, “Thank God It’s Monday.” They are eager to get back to work. Work is a “get to go to” place, not an “I have to deal with” place.
It is the kind of workplace you, no doubt, would like to have. It’s actually about more than this. It is the kind that you need to have if your company is to thrive and if you, as a person, want to feed your soul and replenish your spirit so that you really get to live life instead of just tolerate it.
Now, if you are like most people, you can honestly say you have never worked in a motivated environment. You don’t even think it’s possible, and you’re already thinking “yeah, right” about the whole concept of ANYBODY saying, “Thank God It’s Monday.” Or you’re thinking, “I gotta bail from this place. My place is dysfunctional.” Of course, you may have bailed from the last workplace for the same reason. And what did it get you? Out of the frying pan into the fire, maybe?
If you’re an executive, you’ve probably heard the statistics and stories that link workplace aliveness to bottom line impact. A Gallup study shows that for the average company, for every $10,000 of payroll, $3,400 is factored in for lost productivity flowing from disengaged employee factors in the workplace. You know you can no longer afford disengaged employees.
If you’re a manager, you know how much of your time is spent dealing with what seems to you to be dysfunctional behaviors or “problem” employees.
If you are any person within the organization, you know how much your energy is drained by those who don’t want to play the big game, by the drama queens and kings, and assorted other crazymaking stuff you now just tolerate because you don’t see any another choice. You also know it hurts your psyche, your physical body feels the stress, and you have shut down to protect yourself.
So, what can you do? First, do great “Thank God It’s Monday” workplaces really exist? Yes. Absolutely. Unequivocally. And before they were great, most were quite awful.
Okay, so now you may be thinking, “Sure, they happen ‘out there,’ but can we ever really get our organization to come alive? Our people don’t just have issues—their issues have issues. We have so far to go. I really think if there is ever a place where it couldn’t happen, this would be the place.”
If you’re thinking like this, you’re not alone. In fact, welcome to the majority. Well, you can turn it around and find yourself loving your work and creating massive results while you’re at it.
Don’t believe me? Well, tag along for a bit.
Let’s take a look at a few businesses and see just how the heck they do it. The message here is relevant whether you are a CEO or a front-line employee.
We could poke our noses into a lot of businesses, restaurants, banks, and stores, but let’s push our luck in the next chapter and go into the kind of service center where you expect to have a junkyard dog of an experience.