Taking It Personally

Yertle the Turtle

I am an avid reader of Seth Godin’s blog which offers a lot of great insight on leadership and continuous improvement in organizations. This short blurb Taking it personally by Seth Godin, about a store clerk in a children’s book store just going through the motions, doing the bare minimum, reminded me of how sometime we take our jobs and duty for granted.

“Yesterday, I visited a shop that only sells children's books. The store was empty and I asked the clerk, "Do you know where I can find Yertle the Turtle?" He walked over to the computer, typed a few keystrokes and said, "I don't think we have it, do you know who the author is?"

Stunned silence.

[I found the section myself--they had three copies]

It's possible that he thinks his job is to be a clerk, to keep people from stealing things, to type letters into a computer and to read the results out loud as he stands at the cash register.

If that's the case, this store, like all stores staffed by clerks who are taught to be merely clerks, is doomed.

On the other hand, it's possible that his job is to take it personally, to be interested, to notice, to care, to add more value than a website can.

Who gets hired, how are they trained, where is the magic?

What happens when the boss cares enough to only hire, train and work with people who take it personally?”

When we go to work our approach has to be more than just going through the motions. It has to be more than just showing up and getting through another shift. It has to be more than just waiting to be told what to do before we take action. It must be more than just worrying and focusing on ME, and I. Working together means we think about the other guy and how our work affects their work and how our and their works together affects the communities, the people, we live and work in and with.

Taking our work personally drives interest in what we do which leads to developing insights into a host of different problems and how we solve them. Taking it personally helps us focus and use our imaginations as we work to solve problems and tactical dilemmas. Taking it personally just might also help keep you and your fellow officers safe as you do this complex job.

I think it’s possible to take it personally, to be interested, to care, to add more value to what it is we do. Your thoughts?

Stay Oriented!

Fred