Why Don’t People Just Do Their Damn Job?


Companies are designed to be successful, if everyone just does their damn job. So, when a company begins to fail, it is natural to assume that people aren’t doing their damn job. Which begs the question: Why don’t people just do their damn job?

First, Start By Blaming Leadership
If leadership doesn’t give a sh*t, why should a manager or line worker? A huge part of leading a company is inspiring employees and customers to care. Again, leading is not dragging; leading is inspiring others to follow. Do not expect employees to care more about your company than your leadership does. Sure, shinny new hires may care more their first week on the job but the culture of “i don’t give a sh*t” will soon consume them. This is inevitable.

“But we have amazing compensation packages?” As author Daniel Pink explains in his famous YouTube video on motivation, compensation packages have less traction than you might think. Do rewards work? Short answer, no. Long answer, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

It is more than helpful, but not critical, to hire leaders with natural charisma. A few years ago, I wrote an article for Backstage Magazine, an entertainment industry publication. In the article, I reported on the “it factor,” a phrase coined by music mogul, Clive Davis as he introduced 21 year old Whitney Houston to the world on “The Merv Griffin Show.” Davis said, “you either got ‘it’ or you don’t have ‘it.’ She’s got ‘it!'” Long story short, charisma or “it” is a natural charm, where people like you BOTH personally and professionally. Read more about the “it factor” in my Backstage article: http://www.backstage.com/news/the-wow-factor-does-your-child-have-it/

Although charisma is an authentic attribute, the character traits essential to charisma such as being a nice person, listening to others, and exuding confidence can be learned. Suffice to say, leaders with charisma will naturally rise in the ranks but you do not have to be innately charismatic to be a great leader.

Second, Move On To Blaming The Company’s Culture, A Product Of Leadership
Does your culture encourage people to ask for help when they, OR OTHERS, get stuck? If not, you have a big problem. Communications and strategy expert Simon Sinek explains in his popular TED Talk, “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe,” and book, “Leaders Eat Last,” that trust and cooperation are vital to a company’s survival, just as they were vital to the survival of cavemen. You can’t instruct two people to trust and cooperate with each other because they are feelings, not instructions. This is a dynamic that must be modeled by leaders. If your company does not support a culture of trust and cooperation, people will spend an enormous amount of energy protecting their personal interests to the detriment of the company’s interests.

Want more? Here is Simon Sinek’s TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe?language=en

Trust and cooperation matter because:
No trust, means no cooperation,
which means no collaboration,
which means the best ideas do not float to the top,
which means a less competitive position in the market place,
which means less revenue,
which means your best employees will leave you (some where along this continuum),
which means your company is at risk of failure.

And perhaps the most important reason  . . . Trust and cooperation matter because without it, no one feels safe throwing a flag when things begin to fail . . . because NO ONE CARES enough to risk their professional safety to come out of their cave and signal for help – to their teammate, to their manager, to their leader, to the holding company.

Third, End With Blaming Leadership
Beyond inspiration and culture . . .
If the right people are not in place, blame leadership.
If the right process is not in place, blame leadership.
If the right product is not in place, blame leadership.

People don’t do their damn job because leadership isn’t doing their damn job. Solve the problem by fixing your leadership team.