I had an employee barge into my studio this past Tuesday morning and quit. He walked right in, placed some training materials and his key on my reception desk and said, “I’m done.” “That’s it?” I said. “You have clients in your schedule this evening.” “Did you get my email?” He asked. As if this would take care of any need for an explanation.
I discovered later that day that the email he was referring to had been sent at 9:30 PM the night before. The email where he explained that he was quitting without any further notice. It was only 9 AM in the morning the next day.
The truth is he needed to go anyway. I was going to make sure of that once I had his replacement fully prepared. He lacked the initiative I expect from the people who work for me. Which is why I’m sharing the story with you here today. This story provides a good example of why most people are not successful in their lives. They expect the world to deliver them money, riches, opportunity, and anything else they deem important to them. While at the same time not expecting to have to go out and get it – to make it happen.
Seth Godin, on his blog today hit it right on the head. And his post was short and to the point, as any really good blog post almost always is. So I have included the whole thing here to help make my point.
The relentless search for “tell me what to do”
If you’ve ever hired or managed or taught, you know the feeling.
People are just begging to be told what to do. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I think the biggest one is: “If you tell me what to do, the responsibility for the outcome is yours, not mine. I’m safe.”
When asked, resist.
The employee that dropped his key off on Tuesday morning was continually upset about how he was being compensated for his work (or lack thereof). If clients don’t show, they pay the business anyway. But I don’t pay the trainer unless they are productive during that hour.
In spite of repeated conversations and directions to this employee, he still felt that simply making himself available in the schedule to see clients was enough. Even if he didn’t come in after the client canceled. Now, you might be thinking to yourself…yeah, his time is valuable and he should be paid for making himself available. And yes, I agree. But once again, I still expect some work to be accomplished during that hour.
For example…what if during that hour this employee took some actual initiative and for every canceled hour decided to make phone calls to past clients of the studio and tried to sell them a KickStart program. Do you think this might help keep his schedule a little more full so that cancellations did not become such a significant ‘burden’ on him?
Instead, the client cancels, he stays home another hour and works on another email to me about why he should be paid for the ‘work.’ Astonishing!
Every job I ever found and every accomplishment I have achieved, I earned. I went out and got it myself. There’s no substitute for this. One of my first teachers in junior college taught me something I’ll NEVER forget. It was a phrase she wrote on the chalk board that seemed to make no sense at all. In fact, it was really just a series of letters…
It turns out it was an acronym for the following:
“There aint no such thing as a FREE lunch.”
If you’re a business owner, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re just an employee dropping off his key on a Tuesday morning, you probably still have a lot to learn…