If there is one phrase I heard more than any in my experience with corporations it was the magical phrase, “It’s not my job.” The break room piled high with trash, because the janitor didn’t show up for work? How did the pile form? One after another people walked in, saw the mess, added their crap, then walked away. Why? Cause doing something about, it is not their job.
I will never forget a college I took over that had been struggling mightily. The corporation that owned them told me that there were no good staff members there and I would have to clean house. The school had been failing for years and most of the 60 odd employees were “bums,” they said. The first week I was there I showed up at 7:30 AM and as I was walking the halls, I saw the Dean of Students walking towards me with gloves on and a plunger in her hand. Next to her was one of the department heads pushing a mop bucket. They had come in that morning to find the toilets stopped up and overflowing from the night before. School would start in an hour and the janitors wouldn’t be there until noon, so they took care of it. Of the 60 “bums” the corporation told me were all useless we let go of two total and the rest led the school to year after year of triumph and domination. You can’t teach work ethic.
“It’s not my job,” is a mantra that cannot exist in a start-up or a franchisor. As an entrepreneur everything is your job and everything is your staff’s jobs. Over time, responsibilities can reside in one area or another, but William Johnsen’s mentality of, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me,” must permeate your franchise or business team and it has to start with YOU! Who changes the water bottle when it’s empty? Who brings in the lunch for team meetings? Who is the first to act and last to complain? When you are in start-up mode, you better shove that king size ego up your butt and be ready to do each and every task there is, no matter how menial, disgusting, difficult or if it is someone else’s job. If you find that your staff won’t step up and share in the responsibility with you, then you hired an “It’s Not My Job” staff and that terrible mistake is also on you. A good test for this is, before an interview, make a mess of the area where you will be talking and leave napkins that could be used to clean it up. Say nothing when they get there, but roll right into the interview. Clean people and hard workers will not abide the mess. After they clean it up, you may want to let them know it was a test, so they don’t think you are disgusting pig. Be an entrepreneur, start a franchise, do what concept you want, but hire people that will work as hard as you are going to have to work…you are going to have to work really hard!