The Power Of Purpose


The American visitor rushes to the toilets in the international arrivals baggage claim area. The flight has been long, he could not sleep and he is tired and irritated. As he enters the male toilets, the attendant smiles at him and says ‘Welcome to my office!’ He welcomes the visitor to South Africa and says that he keeps the toilets clean and inviting for visitors like him. The visitor who emerges from the toilets is transformed. He has a smile on his face and feels valued at the beginning of his tour.

So how did this attendant, who has a job at the bottom end of the desirability scale, decide to become a leader in his position. Listening to his story, he relates how he loves coming to his job every day. Would you be this inspired as a toilet cleaner? Probably not. The essence in his story suddenly strikes home when he enthuses about how he deals with tired and grumpy visitors and makes them feel welcome in South Africa. The difference between him and many others is that he has found his purpose, his why.

When last did you think about giving your staff a why? You can have policies and procedures that cover how they should do their job, but until you communicate with them how they make a difference to the organisation, they will give mediocre service. Give them a reason to take ownership of their duties and become a leader in their position. Capture the essence of their job. The difference in their levels of service that they give starts with you.

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